Fri | Dec 1, 2023

As Carron Hall High turns 100, principal gears up for change

Published:Friday | April 29, 2022 | 12:07 AM

As Carron Hall High School in St Mary celebrates its 100th anniversary, the principal of the rural school has pledged to manage its transition to academic excellence.

Carlinton Johnson is aware of the importance of the milestone, and the sense of history is not lost on him in the context of his trailblazing achievement as the school’s first male principal.

The school’s name has reportedly been changed at least six times, but Johnson appears intent on marshalling more fundamental reforms.

“I am very pleased to be part of the 100-year history of the noble institution which I now lead,” Johnson said in a Gleaner interview.


“The school’s existence is legendary ... . This is a great feeling and I am working assiduously to maintain the legacy.”

The school, which has 344 students enrolled, puts outsize focus on farming, woodwork, food preparation, and other hands-on subject areas.

The former all-girls’ institution evolved, eventually, into a co-educational facility. This has seen a demographic shift to 60 per cent male students on roll.

“It is my aim to work with the cohort of dedicated teachers to transform the school into true academic excellence. This will enable our students to maximise their true potential,” he said.

“Those who are slow, we will be designing systems to bring them to the desired matriculation.”

Carron Hall High has a vibrant agricultural production programme, with the school ranked third in the parish.

There was wide support for the centenary function, held recently at the Carron Hall United Church.

Among those who turned up at the venue was St Mary Western Member of Parliament Robert Montague.

“I have a history with Carron Hall High School, as my aunt was part of the 1946 class. She is alive and well,” Montague said. “It is great that the school is 100 years old. It’s a milestone which must be celebrated.”


The lawmaker said he has committed himself to providing the school with a hydrophonic system to enhance the farming component.

Past student Dr Nadine Leachman also basked in the school’s centenary achievement.

“I must say that this institution is responsible for who I am today,” Leachman said. ‘’My memory is coming to school and in addition to academics, life skills was a must. We (students) would have to be in church on a Sunday.”

Chairperson of the Centennial Committee, Dorothy Gillette, said it was a momentous occasion.

She has been teaching here for 35 years and has outlasted four principals. “It stands to reason that I am pleased, and, even more, that we have become 100 years old,” Gillette said.