Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Johnallson Feraria, principal of Brown's Town High School, was honoured by the St Ann Parish Council at a civic ceremony on Heroes Day, October 21, for his sterling contribution to education and the community.
Six other persons were also recognised for their contribution to nation building. They were the Very Reverend Canon Glen Prince (religion); Pastor Japhet Hamilton (religion and meritorious service to the Jamaica Constabulary Force); Dr Linton Francis (medicine and community service); Walter Scott (law); the husband and wife team of Standford and Marilyn Burrowes of Dolphin Cove (tourism and entrepreneurship); and Everton Robinson (community service and sports).
Feraria's award was special for him.
"Even though I got a previous award - the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Education - in 2011, this award means so much to me because it was awarded to me by the community," Feraria told Rural Xpress.
Feraria's career in education began when, as a young lad, he started teaching at a private institution, Shiloh High School, in Alva, St Ann, in 1969.
He later moved on to Fort George Primary then Keith Primary, from where he left in 1974 to attend The Mico College.
After Mico, Feraria had a short stint at Steer Town All-Age before he went to Marcus Garvey Secondary in 1977. At Marcus Garvey, he was head of the mathematics department and taught math and social studies. He left to become principal of Chester All-Age in 1981, where he would spend 13 years before moving to Discovery Bay All-Age, where he also served for 13 years as principal.
In 2006, he became principal at Brown's Town High and has made a positive impact on the school and surrounding communities since.
"I am quite proud of the fact that when I came to Brown's Town High School, people would meet me and ask me, 'Why is it that I was so comfortable at Discovery Bay and I have decided to take over 'Little Iraq?' (as Brown's Town high was dubbed by some at the time).
"Now, since 2006, the discipline of the school has improved under my leadership, which I am very happy about. I get tremendous support from teachers and parents. The students have got to realise what school is all about."
Feraria has overseen improvements in areas such as student discipline, security, plant upgrading, and farm upgrading.
"I am quite pleased with all of those areas," he said.
"Whatever success we have could not have been done without the support of the board, the staff we have here, tremendous people to work with, and a very powerful and supportive PTA. The student population gives very good support also."
Feraria's involvement in communities over the years has also been tremendous and has touched the areas of literacy, student funding, sports, and agriculture.
"I involve myself in whatever the community requires me to do," Feraria explained.
Currently, the school population of more than 2,300 students (supported by over 100 staff members) comes from approximately 67 communities in the parish. Instead of always asking parents to come in for PTA meetings, the school is now taking the meetings to the communities through the establishment of PTA cells, where the school team goes out to meet the community.
Two major projects are under way at the school: building of a playing field, and construction of an auditorium.