Tough times, good results ...Principal proud of GSAT passes for students from farming community

June 17, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Shenere Coley
Ian Allen/Photographer Principal of the Harry Watch All-Age School, Fitzroy Francis

...Principal proud of GSAT passes for students from farming community

Principal of the Harry Watch All-Age School Fitzroy Francis is lauding the students of his school for their successful performances in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) despite difficulties faced in their preparation for the much-anticipated examinations.

"Most of our students are from poor economic background because it is a farming community, so some parents aren't able to afford the things the students need in preparation for their exams," he explained.

Francis, who has been the school's principal for three years, told THE WEEKEND STAR that majority of the north Manchester school's population of about 200 students are on the government-funded Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, which facilitates them getting lunch at a reduced cost, and in cases where the students do not have any lunch money, he said they are still encouraged to attend school because the institution will provide their meals.

"In the times when we are having our drought, about 60 per cent of our children come to school without break or lunch because their parents are unable to fund them coming to school," he said.

Despite this, 17 students of the 48 children who sat GSAT at the institution were placed in traditional high schools in the parish.

"The school is very proud of students because, without all of the resources they need, they still did very well," said Francis.

One of the students who matriculated for top school Manchester High School in spite of challenging circumstances was Shenere Coley. With both caregivers being struggling farmers, Coley only had two of the necessary text books during her preparation for her exams.

"I shared with my other classmates and got a lot of the work done before I got home, then read over the notes at home because I didn't have all the books," she explained.

The 13-year-old, who also has interests in athletics, said she aims to get a scholarship to assist with the daily costs that will be incurred in high school.

"My mother is very proud of me because she always encourages me to do well. This made me my entire family very happy," said an excited Coley.

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