Vauxhall evolved from humble beginnings, on a property used as a cattle farm by Dr. Delfrosse, to a vibrant centre of learning undaunted by the vicissitudes of time or its environs. The property was watered by a well, pumped by a windmill located in the south western corner of the property. The windmill was an apt symbol signifying the winds of change that would blow across the ten acres bringing drastic changes through the years to come. It would change from acres where cattle grazed in tranquil safety to an institution where lives are being moulded for better living.
Like the proverbial mustard seed, minute, but with the potential to grow into a large spreading tree offering sanctuary, so grew Vauxhall. It began in May 1951 as a small school with four teachers including the Principal, Miss Myrtle Banks. This school was named after Vauxhall Avenue which was situated nearby. The first Vauxhall school continued for eight years when it was closed to make way for Vauxhall Senior Modern School.
The Vauxhall Senior Modern School under Mr. Raymond C. Tavares came into being in January 1, 1959. It was the first of this type of school in Jamaica and served as a model for other schools which would be converted into Senior Modern Schools. Built to accommodate 1,000 pupils, it had facilities for the teaching of Home Economics, Industrial Arts and Science in a Laboratory. The new school was for pupils from 11-15 years old who came from Franklin Town and Rollington Town, which ceased to be All Age Schools, and Calabar and St. Michaels which were overcrowded. The younger children from the Vauxhall All Age went to Rollington Town Junior School where Miss Myrtle Banks was Principal.
The site of the old school was cleared and prepared as a game field. Much of the administration of the school rested on the able shoulders of Mrs. V. B. Francis, then Vice Principal of this model institution. She along with Mr. R.C. Tavares and a group of dedicated teachers coped with the challenges of the new institution. From those early years Vauxhall began making strides in the Academics, Sports and Arts. In Netball, the school emerged year after year the unbeaten champions in all the competitions. Vauxhall prowess as invincible netballers becoming a byword island wide.
In September 1967, another illustrious educator Mr. W.S.A. Johnson assumed the position of Principal of Vauxhall Secondary School. During his tenure additional buildings were erected including Block K which now houses spacious Home Economics Department, a Business Education Department, a Library, Science Laboratories and classrooms for Grades 10 & 11. In 1973 the shift system was introduced and a year later the Grade 10 & 11 programme was introduced. With this new programme came the extension of the period of school life at Vauxhall from three to five years.
The Grade 10 & 11 programme continues to offer in addition to academic subjects at CXC and SSC levels, vocational courses in Cosmetology, Child Care, Catering, Clothing, Metal Work, Carpentry, Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Auto Mechanics and Business Education. In 1974 the school was upgraded to the Secondary level.
Spearheaded by then Principal, Mrs. Vera B. Francis the Vauxhall Day Care Centre was established to benefit the community and to help in the training of students in the Child Care vocational course. This period of time could almost be called “the golden age” of Vauxhall, the school’s outstanding performance in the Arts particularly speech was at its zenith. Successive years saw Vauxhall ranking in the highest number of gold medals for its entries in the National Festival of Arts. In 1980, the school won 9 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals.
Another person took over the helm of Vauxhall Secondary in 1990. He was Mr. Stewart; however, his tenure in office lasted for only a year. The school under the aegis of Mrs. Barbara Sinclair, (1991-2002) under went two paradigms, namely: Vauxhall Comprehensive (1994) and Vauxhall High (2000). Present principal Ms. Angela Chaplin (2002) is fervent in her quest to make Vauxhall a world class high school; this is typified with the modern infrastructural changes of the school along with relevant instructional material and technologies to aid in the pedagogical process.
Today Vauxhall still stands as a living testimony that epitomizes the test of time and continues to soar brazenly in triumph. In December of 2007 the school’s choir won the coveted TVJ’s National All Together Choir Competition and is now revered and inundated by corporate Jamaica and citizens alike. Moreover, one of Vauxhall’s esteemed past student and former Head Boy (2005-2006) Timar Fitz-Jackson came to national prominence in 2013 by winning the 2013 Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. Notably, as well, Vauxhall experienced yet another turn in its’ operational schedule by exiting from the shift system and welcoming a full day school system in September 2015 that was long anticipated. This was made possible with the addition of eight additional class rooms by the industrial arts area towards the back of the school; which is now home to grade 7 students and some grade 10 students.
We are confident that in the ongoing process of change, we will reach out as a beacon providing hope and vision through education. For we know that without vision the people perish. As the Bible says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” but Vauxhall recognises this and will continue to build lives through knowledge in keeping with our motto ‘Knowledge is Power.’