‘HALF WAY IN’ Reflections of what was, is and is to be

HIP! HIP! HOORAY!

This was my initial gut feeling when I entered the newly refurbished ‘bottom half’ of the school on Thursday, September 12, 2008. Last minute touches were being applied to the dividers for the new class-rooms that will be stationed here and there was a skip in the Principals voice and walk as she guided me through the new assembly hall and bathrooms ending at the newly built staff-room, overlooking the ‘flat’ and Tanteen. by Karen A Charles

HIP! HIP! HOORAY!

WE ARE IN! HALF IS DONE JUST THE TOP BEFORE WE TIDY UP THE SURROUNDING SHELTERS THAT HAVE TEMPORARILY HOUSED US FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS.

HIP! HIP! HOORAY!

This was my initial gut feeling when I entered the newly refurbished ‘bottom half’ of the school on Thursday, September 12, 2008. Last minute touches were being applied to the dividers for the new class-rooms that will be stationed here and there was a skip in the Principals voice and walk as she guided me through the new assembly hall and bathrooms ending at the newly built staff-room, overlooking the ‘flat’ and Tanteen.

For those of us who know The Anglican High School - two-storey; with bottom extensions of staff-room; bathroom; cookery room and laboratory and the self made track through the back fence to Mr Miller......this is a far cry from that. Since that, we had a fire in 1972 and the rebuilt classrooms had no upper floor; yet the 10 classrooms were easily accommodated! Back then of course, we had 2 rooms for each form; forms 1A and 1B right up to form 5A and 5B. Today it’s 3 rooms to a form and named 1A; 1H; & 1S. There was the Headmistress (now Principal) and her Secretary on the top floor where Ms Nedd (Secretary) had a vantage view of the ‘late comers’ from the Lane! There was a large flamboyant tree in the yard as you walked in from the Lane (we had Literature classes out there too!) and as you entered the building you came into a small ‘waiting area’ with steps to top floor at the right. At the left, was the long corridor giving access to forms 1A and 2A and the assembly hall. Don’t forget Ms Briggs just within the corridor with ‘Break’, before you advanced to these forms! Yes, the classrooms were roomy with 25 students and we had big desks with a lid! Lord, the things we did and hid in those desks!

To the end of the corridor was a wooden staircase at right for the teachers to access the forms 3–5 from their staffroom. (How well I remember climbing those stairs to see my cousin Kathleen and Aunt Cheryl (big girls) upstairs!) Don’t let Mrs Dorry Martineau ‘catch’ you on the stairs during classes! A good Policewoman she was and the questions quietly asked, you had better have a good answer! I digressed......(smile). Further on, you climbed 3 stairs to the staff room on left, form 2B on right ending at the laboratory with a neat exit to Mr Miller’s shop; a view of Tanteen Old Trafford pasture and the playing field across the road. Here was another area for sitting and relaxing during break.

Back then, just behind the assembly hall, almost parallel to forms 1A and 2A was a large cookery room (young ladies were expected to be good cooks for husband and children) and art centre. Today this subject we knew as ‘Cookery’ is now known as Home Economics. When the fire gutted that extension in 1972, the cookery and lab shared quarters at the end of the famous corridor. What should be noted here is that each classroom (with the exception of 2B) had a view of the flat and Tanteen. Those on the upper floor had a view of the Lane and Tanteen; the windows were large with glass panes giving good ventilation and light even on rainy days. Do you remember the ‘sticky cherry tree’ just outside the corridor?

So let’s see, originally, in 1952 a 2-storey building comfortably housed approx 250 students. By 1976 there were 434 students and 22 teachers; one level of classrooms with Principals office replacing the flamboyant tree; a small lab and cookery room; not forgetting Bottom school (Fowl coup). However, in the 70’s with the fire as early as 1972, the opportunity came for change. Somehow, the refurbished classrooms became slightly narrower and the dream of an open-air theatre for assemblies and shows was a good idea lending a new atmosphere and abeyance. Sadly, funds fell through; the dreamer was forced to leave the ‘household’ and the semi built structure still stands but covered with another 2- storeyed concrete structure blocking the view from the main building! The upper floor of this ‘structure’ is now vacant for ‘optional’ classes.

The bottom school remained until hurricane Ivan in 2004. Today, in its place stands two 2-story buildings which houses the 3 forms 1-AHS and 4 forms 2 -AHS and 2S1. In its 92nd year of academic achievements, while present AHS students gladly moved from ‘wooden’ shelters and temporary bathrooms into a new clean classroom spanning from Principal’s office to laboratory, I could not resist their enthusiasm and shared with the forms 2A and 2H just what I attended in 1969–76. Of course I had no photos to share with them then but they could not help but express their disappointment that they do not have that facility today.

The theme this year is ‘Celebrating a legacy of Greatness, Rebuilding with each student in mind.’ The co-ordinator, Ms Makelia Antoine -1999 grad and teacher of social studies planned the day’s activities which consisted mainly of social events with teachers and students; one of which was a cricket match but sadly rain destroyed all those out-door activities and eventually only indoor games were played.

A special assembly was held in the new hall attended by all forms 3–5 (9 classes of 40 each = 360 students) together with Principal, their teachers (form Mistresses) and the Presidents of the Past Pupils Association (PPA) - Judy Benoit and Parent Teachers Association (PTA)- Davidson Nedd. Josephine Mc Guire and Elizabeth Henry-Greenidge who gave the feature address, were also there. Canon Glasgow (School Manager) of the Anglican Church blessed the gathering before the ceremony began. First there was the presentation march of house flags - Bertrand, Garraway, Piggotte and Walton (in that order); the school flag and girl guides who light a candle for every 10 years beginning with 1916–1926. Of course standing in the midst was me for the 1966–76 era (60th year) proud of my Alma Marta; but the loudest cheer came when the 2006 – present was announced! I thought, Mrs Archer and Mrs Patterson should be here to hear these ‘young ladies’ squeal! A very attractive student/Girl Guide named Ruth Bailey represented the 1966–76 era.

In the meantime, at the lower level of the hillside forms 1s and 2s were having chats with past pupils of the 1980’s & 1990’s who shared their school days experiences. Question: “What is it about the opposite sex that attracts and punctuates every conversation of girls?”

I visited the chats and each one had a question about ‘boys’. In form 1 - the new comers for 2008–9; I met Roxanne Nedd (nee Willaims) exchanging photos of her family and friends in school. I was caught off-guard, when she asked me to share my times especially with the uniform! I fumbled not quite sure of my memory bank and looking at those anxious faces brought me right back to bottom school on my first day! These girls now wear white ribbon with knee-high socks and no hat! They liked the idea of ankle socks but preferred to be hatless. There, I got it right. I then shared the landscape and they were particularly interested in the flamboyant tree. Interestingly, every girl wants to me an intellectual with high degrees! No one wants to be a Nurse; Pharmacist; Policewoman; Teacher or even Mother!

In forms 2S and 2S1 I bounced up with Khadine Francis, daughter of Mrs Gemmie Mason-Francis (Principal 1984–1999) who was being asked about her ‘boyfriend’. I then returned to the top school to resume with the assembly and caught the last comments from Elizabeth Henry-Greenidge reminding the ladies to always keep high standards and heed the words in our school song “Make us willing, patient, keen’......to study, work and never be false or mean” and “Joy in striving, pride in achieving each aspiring free from fear.”

2007–08 ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Young Leaders Trophy - April 2008 - 7th time winners. Programme sponsored by RBTT running 10 years now.
  • Knowledge Bowl winners - 1st time. Sponsored by SGU and running 3 years. ‘HALF WAY IN’ Reflections of what was, is and is to be by Karen A Charles
  • Head girl Cerisse Nedd - 11 distinctions out of 11 subjects in CXC 2008 (daughter of Roxanne)
  • Tourist Board essay competition participation prize in island - Clarisse Mc Guire (form 2H) and Kamiela Nedd (form 4A) - daughters of Josephine Mc Guire and Roxanne Nedd respectively
The AHS Young Leaders made a request from the PTA (AHS Association), to bridge the gap; and out of that idea the dinner was established. The aim was to link the parents; teachers, students and past pupils in an informal setting; sharing times, experiences and dreams. Hopefully enhancing a better understanding of each group and how we can work together. Their project this year earned them 1st place again for the 7th time! The theme “Reaching our, Making connections” was presented to the guests at an AHS Association effort on September 27 2008. Thankfully this effort which was initially organised for August 2nd 2008 at the Trade Centre, flopped and moved to September 27th AHS hall. Although tickets were still saying Trade Centre, the atmosphere was friendly, warm and we were all very happy to see the new premises

There was a representative from each era except 1916–1936 of course, but there were MAB’s girls who hale from 1946–1956. . Lots of Pressy gals - 1970’s and present day ones - 1980–2000. The room was a transformation from the assembly of 2 weeks prior! Again, with the organisation skills of Ms Antoine and her team, we were seated in a clean well laid out dinning area of terrazzo floors and lemon walls. The desks formed our tables for seating of 6; 8 or 10 and we were waited on by girls of forms 4 & 5; ushered in to dine by friends of Alice Thomas-Roberts and greeted by Alice herself. The DJ told me he is an AHS fan (whatever that means) and he entertained us with soft listening music through the evening. Dinner, although served late (8:30pm instead of 7pm) was D–E–L–I–C–I–O–U–S. The menu was planned by Food & Nutrition Council a division where Barbara Simpson works. The buffet dinner consisted of a choice of 2 soups –callaloo and pumpkin; 3 meats – pork, fish & chicken (all baked); tossed green salad; breadfruit and green banana salads; veg. rice and macaroni pie. Yummie! To compliment this were local juices; beverages and/or a glass of table wine. Desserts were ice-cream; apple pie; 3 choices of cake and fruit salad. At my table we were told by our waitress that the drinks were complimentary but that there were also on sale! Of course, we took the compliments! All this for the price of $60.00. The target – EC$20,000.00 and the effort was to raise funds to purchase new desks for the forms. To date I have not been successful in obtaining a firm amount collected but this should be known by November. It was good exposure for the students and in a recent chat with Ms Antoine, I learnt she selected 15 of the Food & Nutrition students for this exercise and they are all willing to do it again when The PTA (AHS Association) hosts their annual Tea and Fair on November 2nd ; and this time it will be in the hall again!

In another update I will share info on the AHS Association– its aims, pitfalls, achievements etc. Also, whats happening on the top half of the original building.

Karen A Charles

Class of 1976

School Quote

‘every student is expected to take her academic studies seriously at all times;’ and  ‘every student should regard herself as a citizen of the Anglican High School Community, who live together, pooling and sharing their qualities of mind and character with a view to utilizing and developing the resources of their common habitation for the good of all.’

~ AHS Handbook given to every new student