Haddo Primary striving for excellence

October 17, 2017
Rochelle McGregor-Smith (centre, back row), principal of the Haddo Primary and Infant School in Haddo, Westmoreland, with some of the school's student leaders and members of the school's 4-H Club.
The Haddo Primary and Infant School.

Despite its location, in the heart of a sleepy farming community, the Haddo Primary and Infant School in Haddo, Westmoreland, has its sights set on creating an atmosphere conducive to academic excellence and the holistic development of its students.

The school, which opened its door at the same time as the neighbouring Haddo Methodist Church in 1913, has achieved much in its 104 year. Today, the school, which still shares home turf with the church, has 182 students, and is manned by eight teachers and three auxiliary staff members.

Rochelle McGregor-Smith, the school's principal, says the institution has managed to make its mark in literacy, athletics, and the performing arts, albeit acknowledging that the school is challenged by its location and a need for specific educational materials.

"Last year, we got a gold medal for a dance piece at the JCDC Festival, and we got bronze for a speech presentation," said McGregor-Smith. "The year before last, two of our students went to the national finals of the JTA (Jamaica Teachers' Association) Athletic Meet in Kingston, and came home with silver medals.

"At present, we have a 90.9 per cent literacy rate, and our numeracy rate is much lower at 54.5 per cent, but we are working to improve it," added the principal.

In terms of scope for social interaction, Haddo is alive with a number of active clubs, including the 4-H Club, Brownie, Boy Scout and Girl Guide.

The school also gets much support from the community.

"The school and community enjoy a good relationship. We don't have security guards, but the community is protective of us, and whatever activities we have over here, the residents are supportive," said McGregor-Smith.

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