EHSM developing students with strong Christian values
November 1, 2013
EHSM developing students with strong Christian values

Nestled into the breadbasket of St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the country’s most vibrant schools, which was built upon the belief that “Unless God is with us, all is in Vain”.{{more}}

The Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia (EHSM) was established in 1963 by Dr John Parmenas Eustace, and was one of the first co-educational schools to be established on the windward side of the island.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, principal Curtis Greaves observed that the institution focuses on developing its students with strong Christian values, so that they can make vital contributions to their communities.

“That is what Emmanuel is about; adding value to the lives of our students so that they can be of value to the society,” he said.

As a result, the EHSM endeavours to provide a strong academic foundation for its students, which is coupled with a wide variety of extra-curricular and club activities.

These activities include Red Cross, Girl Guides, Drama club, Heritage club, Inter-School Christian Fellowship and many sporting disciplines.

“We believe that…all the students that come to Emmanuel Mespo, come with various talents and all of them will not be inclined to academics,” Greaves told SEARCHLIGHT.

“And we believe in exposing the students to all the opportunities there are”.

The school band is testament to the melting pot of talent that is bubbling within the 50-year-old institution. Under the direction of past student Brent Williams, the impressive band regularly performs, for the school body, remixed and original pieces from different genres, which are entertaining, yet positive and educational.

Other initiatives have also been implemented at the institution to enhance their students’ overall development. One such initiative is the annual inter-class literacy competition, which gives students the opportunity to develop their speech skills and showcase other aspects of literacy.

Greaves also revealed that this year, the school, which is very active in community service, hopes to use their band to spread some Christmas cheer.

“We are in the process of developing even more positive community effort and one of the things we are hoping long-term is that we can take our school band into the communities where the students come from and have Christmas concerts to promote good values in our community,” he said.

The principal noted that, as is the case with many of the rural schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines, some persons tend to view the EHSM in an undesirable light. However, a passionate Greaves expressed that this should not be so.

“Some of the school’s distinguishing features are that Emmanuel Mespo offers a wide variety of subjects. We offer 25 subjects at CSEC. We expose our students to all the various sporting disciplines. We have been serving the rural community of St Vincent for over 50 years,” he said.

“If you go back and check the history, you will see that Emmanuel High School Mespo was the first rural secondary school that accepted everyone and anyone, no matter their religious persuasion, no matter their economic background, no matter their social class”.

Furthermore, the principal disclosed that since 2007, the school’s pass rate at CSEC examinations has improved significantly and now sits at 57 per cent.

Greaves told SEARCHLIGHT that there have been instances where individuals have come to the institution with low reading levels and have excelled to attaining more than eight subjects at CSEC level.

“You go around St Vincent and you’ll find our past students who are nurses, teachers, and policemen, people who are working in the business places, the public sector …and you can see that Emmanuel Mespo has made a contribution to St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Greaves, who is president of the Association of Secondary Schools Principals declared.

Included on a long list of successful past students are Yvette Williams-Richardson, the former assistant director of Education in Bermuda; Marcus Caine, the first director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College and former senior education officer, and former chief agricultural officer Reuben Robertson.

Teachers of the institution are also proud to be a part of the staff. Shara Ollivierre-Stewart has been a teacher at the school for six years and commended the staff for their exceptional work.

“The staff at Emmanuel High School [Mesopotamia] is exceptional. I don’t know sometimes how we make it, but we make it because you are given limited resources…we use whatever little we have to accommodate everybody,” she said.

Currently, 673 students attend “the school in the valley”.

Greaves stressed that the EHSM is “committed to the task of educating the nation’s students”.