St Jago High School is a hidden gem that many parents and Jamaicans don’t talk about as much as they should. We had a chance to visit the school to learn more about the school and believe that this is a school that needs to be talked about a lot more.
The school is approximately 273 years old, making it older than the United States of America which was formed in 1776 following its independence from the British. The age of the school should also remind us that this school existed long before Jamaica ever got independence and was amongst the few schools that existed back then to educate Jamaica’s children.
The school is being led by Mrs. Pryce and her staff compliment, which is made up of approximately 30% past students which also includes Mrs Pryce. Such is the love for the school, that each individual felt they had to find their way back to their beloved ‘home’. Approximately a third of the school staff are male and the school believe it benefits tremendously from this. We spoke to the Head Boy of the school, Javaughn Keyes, who told us that the school has a family atmosphere.
The school’s most recent record shows that in 2016, 79.13% of their grade 11 students left having achieved 5 or more subjects including Mathematics and/or English. The school currently sits less than 1% behind St George’s College in the 2017 CSEC Ranking.
St Jago High School has a very broad and balanced curriculum and this can be seen in action on a visit to the school. The school does amazingly well at balancing sports and academics and has trophies to reflect its achievements in every area in which they participate. St Jago High is dubbed ‘the school that never sleeps’ due to the fact that the school is always buzzing with numerous activities, especially after school. Along with the ‘school that never sleeps’, it is also being called ‘1-a-day the St Jago way.’ The name one a day derives from the number of academic and sporting trophies won by the school. The school sits in the very special category of schools that are able to create goals and achievements in all areas of school life.
The school is well-loved and well-supported by the surrounding community and the students we spoke to reported that they felt very safe. We also spoke to a PTA representative Seita Cunningham, who is the PTA treasurer and she gives the school a vote of confidence and says she would not send her children to any other school. The school has an excellent behaviour policy and has a solid systematic approach as it relates to their behaviour management.
The school has an excellent web team, which is a leading web team among the secondary schools across the island. Milton Brown, HOD for Geography, Social Studies and Religious Education, has created a programme at the school called ‘Stolympics’ and ‘felympics.’ They are the male and female staff sporting events coined from the word Olympics and this takes place at the school. It’s a beautiful event and he is focused on taking it parish-wide as well as islandwide.
The school like any other school faces lots of challenges. The school has a student welfare programme that is being supported by the Alumni Association and is significantly assisting students who are in need. The Science labs are under renovation and the renovation is being supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information. It must be noted that there is much work to be done at the school as it relates to the infrastructure as many classes are held in the hall due to limited space availability at the school. The school is doing well at maximizing the amount of resources it has; however, they could do with additional support.
How they manage to do what they do is nothing short of incredible. How much greater would their achievement be if the school was able to leverage more resources? St Jago High is focused on attaining the top spot as the best school on the island. Mrs. Pryce has big dreams for her alma mater and we have recently bought our ticket to go along for this exciting ride.