Valerie Dixon, Gleaner Writer
CAMPBELL'S CASTLE can be described as a 'bush place' in deep, rural south Manchester, which is nestled in the Windsor Forest District, 12 miles from Mandeville. The Campbell's Castle Primary School got its name from a Mr Campbell, who donated his land and house to be used as the school.
The community relies on agriculture, and most farmers grow yam, cabbage, tomato, and sorrel, and some raise poultry. The area is also home to teachers, nurses, police, and taxi operators.
Anni-vee Moore is the Aubrey Phillips Scholarship winner for the entire parish of Manchester. Anni-vee and her family are special. She is from a stable family and her parents are married and live under the same roof with their two children. She will join her brother at deCarteret College.
Anni-vee has been a high achiever her entire life. She was the first Spelling Bee Champion in south Manchester in the grades one to three category. She obtained perfect scores in the Grade Four Literacy Exam and she did outstandingly well in this year's GSAT. Her overall average was 97.5 per cent, broken down as follows:
Anni-vee is a well-rounded student as she has also excelled in her extra-curricular activities, being a member of the school's 4-H Club. This school year, she won gold medals at the parish and national levels for rabbit-rearing.
Her support systems are in place and they are very strong. Her parents are heavily involved and interested in their children's lives. Her parents are also involved in her school life and her father is the vice-president of the parent-teacher association..
Anni-vee and all the students at Campbell's Castle have a supportive staff that takes the motto of the Ministry of Education - "Every child can learn and every child must learn"- to heart. The principal and staff have no need to make excuses, because their results prove that they, too, are high achievers.
Principal, the Reverend Owen Lambert, explained that each year, he sets targets for himself and his staff. He says the staff is intrinsically motivated as the excellent results prove year after year that the targets have been met.
Eighty-three per cent of the academic staff have first degrees and Lambert and one other staff member have their master's degrees. The staff describes their principal as a visionary and a team player. One member added that Lambert develops the competencies of the entire staff as well as the parents. In the eyes of the residents, the Campbell's Castle school has become a learning community.
Anni-vee and all the students of Campbell's Castle have proven that good can come out of every school regardless of its location. Many schools that are failing in Jamaica need to pause and take a page out of the Campbell's Castle school and stop making excuses for their poor performances.