In sixty one (61) short years, Vauxhall High School has evolved from humble beginnings to a vibrant institution undaunted by the challenges of time. The property on which the school now stands was once a 10 acre cattle farm with a windmill in its south western corner, which pumped water from a well on the property. As we reflect on our humble beginnings, we are extremely proud of our rich legacy and sterling achievements.
Vauxhall continues to bask in its achievements, including the distinction of being the only upgraded high school in Jamaica to produce a coveted Rhodes Scholar in the person of Timar Fitz Jackson, the current Past Students Association president. It continues to be celebrated for its 2007 win of the ultra popular TVJ National All Together Sing Choir Competition title and its boast of being netball champions for many years. In addition, like it has done since its inception, the school continues to graduate students who are well-rounded and equipped to contribute to nation building. Today, Vauxhall has grown into an institution that can boast that while it offers everything that other schools offer, there are programmes it offers that many schools do not and this makes it exceptional. Every graduate of this institution has been equipped with a certified, marketable and financially viable skill.
Our students continue to perform well in CSEC examinations and for the 2019 school year 80% of those who sat English Language passed, 100% passed Information Technology and 100% passed Physical Education and Sport. In addition, 91% of our students who sat Electrical Installation passed, 90% passed Building Technology and 97% passed Food, Nutrition and Health. Evidence of the skills gained by our students are noticeable everywhere on our school compound. Each year, under the supervision of their teachers our students complete projects to benefit the school including the corridor shed that shelters us from rain, the drinking fountain that serves our lower school, the bathroom that serves the Industrial Arts department and the beautiful fascinators staff members wore to graduation in July 2019.
We continue to expose our students to opportunities to enhance their development including participation in competitive sporting activities such as netball, basketball, volleyball and football and reached the second round in Manning Cup completion last year in a group that contained many highly recognised and more experienced teams. Our grade 9 students entered the Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship competition for only the second time in 2020 and placed second in the island. We were also privileged in 2018 to be chosen as a host school by the Parliament of Jamaica for the launch of Commonwealth Day celebrations. I am proud to report that House Speaker the Honourable Pearnel Charles was duly impressed by our students and staff, so much so that he had to keep reminding himself that he had a prepared speech and had not come to speak on the dress, decorum and ‘grand A’ performance of the students, as he called it. As I proudly relay these results, I want to use this opportunity to recognise and thank our stakeholders, sponsors and benefactors.
We are blessed with a cadre of trained, competent committed and caring staff who work hard to ensure that our students get the best opportunities to succeed. I also acknowledge the support of our Board of Management, Past Students’ Association and Parent Teachers Association who all ensure that they stay involved in the life of our students and the activities at our school. The successes we enjoy would not be possible without this support.
As we continue to strive for excellence, I continue to implore our students to become eagles—fascinating symbols of beauty, power, courage, determination and grace. I remind them that eagles are brave and choose their company wisely. Eagles are attentive and observe everything around them before making a move. This ability to be discerning, thoughtful and visionary is what helps to make the eagle a leader among birds. In addition, eagles ride out the storm. When an eagle faces a storm, he does not run and hide like other birds but flies into the storm and uses the fierce winds to push him to rise higher and higher.
In order to continue to be successful we therefore implore our students to soar like the eagle! Use life’s challenges to help you to rise and to grow. Your life will always have challenges. To be successful you will have to use those challenges to push you to rise like the eagle. If you sit still and allow the storms of your life to frighten and defeat you, you will fail. Use the successes you are enjoying today to motivate you to have even greater accomplishments tomorrow.
First Corinthians 3:8 says in essence, “Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, because it is God who gives the increase”. I believe that this scripture aptly sums up our school’s current position because although our team has worked hard, we know that nothing we have achieved could have been done without Almighty God and we are grateful for his mercies.
MRS. P. BROWN PINNOCK, M.ED., BED, PQP