Career & Education

Maggotty High celebrates 'whole' day

Monday, October 09, 2017

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Maggotty , St Elizabeth — Maggotty High School in St Elizabeth has finally replaced the shift system with a whole day structure, and according to principal Sean Graham, all stakeholders are pleased.

“People in the community and parents are loving it because they no longer see children on the streets hanging out at inappropriate times and children can now get home at a reasonable time,” Graham told Jamaica Observer Central during a recent visit.

Crucially, also, teachers and students “love it” because now there is more time to prepare and impart lessons as well as for extra-curricular activities, said Graham.

“The evenings now are just superb with choir practice, debating and (sports) training,” the principal said.

The discarding of the shift system for the September term followed the government's construction of an eight-classroom block and the erection of six temporary classrooms with the help of students doing the Building & Construction course at the school.

Two rooms in the “agricultural area” were also retrofitted to provide classroom space, Graham said.

“We were proactive,” said Graham of the self-help effort by the school to find additional classroom space.

As part of the reorganisation and reordering of Maggotty High, the main gate has been shifted to provide direct and clear access to the main road. Previously students of Maggotty High had to compete for space with those from neighbouring Glen Stuart Primary when entering or leaving the school campus.

A long-term project for Graham is to establish a proper playing field for Maggotty High. Currently, the school uses a small parcel of land close to the bank of the Maggotty River for sports training and exercise activities. Over the years it has depended heavily on the generosity of the Appleton Estate, five miles away, for use of that company's sports facilities.

With Appleton undergoing expansion and renovation in recent months, Maggotty High was forced this season to play its home games in the ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in Santa Cruz, 12 miles away.

Graham recognises that his goal of establishing a proper playing field will be difficult and expensive, so he is seeking partnerships.

“We will need land as well as other resources. it's going to be challenging and it's going to cost a lot so we want to partner with the private sector, our MP [JC Hutchinson, Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Western] and government,” said Graham.

Among those to whom he will be reaching out for help is the Campari Group, parent company of J Wray & Nephew, which owns Appleton Estate, he said.

Maggotty High currently accommodates 1,500 students with an average 30-35 students per classroom.

— Garfield Myers

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