New school for Dr. JP Eustace
September 11, 2009
New school for Dr. JP Eustace

September 7, 2009, meant more than just the start of the new school year for students of the Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School. It also meant a new school building in a different environment.{{more}}

The joy that emanated from the youngsters on Monday was palpable as they entered the gates of their new school building at Lower Edinboro. Some first form students clutched their parents’ hands and wore broad smiles as they slowly walked to the assembly area. The hugs and laughs were bountiful among returning students and those who had known their schoolmates from primary school.

The school, which was formerly located at the Victoria Park, now houses over 600 students and has 20 classrooms. 72 of the students will be attending the school for the first time. The new structure, built at a cost of EC$6.3 million, includes a fully equipped 40-station computer lab and a fully operational library.

One student told SEARCHLIGHT that she was happy to be back in the company of her friends and that she really likes her new school. One concerned parent expressed her approval of what she saw on Monday. “I love how they are doing security checks at the gates, searching the kids before they go into their classroom…I just hope they keep up with it,” she stated.

Acting Principal of the school Decima Alexander Hamilton described the new building as “therapeutic” and said it is something they have been dreaming of for quite some time. “It is calming, relaxing, welcoming and enticing for our staff and students…this environment is now more conducive to the students’ learning,” Alexander Hamilton stated.

While at the Victoria Park, students had to put up with the sounds of construction work being done nearby and the constant movement of trucks from Gibson’s Building Supplies just a few feet away. That however, is a thing of the past. Students will now be greeted each day by the sounds of the waves breaking against the rocks at the Edinboro Bay and a picturesque view of the Kingstown Harbour.

It is also Hamilton’s hope that the school will become one of choice for parents. “I know we have come under some bad light in recent times, but I just want for more support from the public…. Once you set foot inside this school, we want to make a difference.”

Hamilton mentioned that the school has been doing well in recent times, and this year achieved a pass rate in the CSEC examinations of 54 percent, up from 44 percent in 2008.

The school will also now be more stringent in relation to the school uniform, especially the “pencil foot” trousers worn by some male students. As a testimony to the school’s new attitude, some students were sent back home on the first day of school because of failure to adhere to the dress code.

The acting principal noted that a Life Skills class, for which the students will receive credit, will be taught to first formers for the first time this year. Hamilton says plans are already afoot to have emergency drills for the students to ensure safety at all times.