Let’s turn this ugly duckling into beautiful swan!
Clarendon College Physics Laboratory Project
Clarendon College, CC as it is commonly known, is a "country" high school in Jamaica - country because of its location in a small town somewhere in the middle of the island in the hills of Clarendon, and country as compared to the many "city" high schools in Jamaica. From its very small beginnings in 1942 with no campus, one building, and ten students, it is now a school of 1900 students, with several buildings and a sprawling campus. It is a co-educational institution with girls and boys attending, and in the early days about half of the students actually lived on the campus as boarders. This arrangement fostered enduring friendships among alumni that are as strong today as they were then.
"Perstare et Praestare", (Persevere and Excel), is the school's motto, and over the years it has become clear that alumni have continued to live by this motto, excelling in leadership capacities in government, medicine, other sciences - physics, chemistry (Nobel Prize nomination in 1998), agricultural science, veterinary science, research, among others. In sports CC has made a name for itself in football (soccer), track and field, netball, and other inter-collegiate athletic programs. The school's amazing Choir travels Jamaica performing in various music festival competitions, has won several medals and awards, and their work is now recorded for posterity. Clearly, the tenets of the school's motto stay with students as they leave and as they forge their paths in life.
Under the visionary leadership of C.L. Stuart, the subject of Physics was offered long before it was mainstream in other schools in Jamaica, and a Physics Lab was built - sharing space with Chemistry and Zoology classes. Students were not only expected to excel in the core curriculum, but also in other subjects and comprehensive life skills programs like deportment, domestic science, shorthand and typing, classical music appreciation, as boarders back then, the male students were even taught the proper way to ask a young lady to dance! One of Mr. Stuart's stated missions was to make sure that any student who passed through his care would be well rounded and equally comfortable with Paupers or Princes.
Many of these traditions and values have been maintained over the years with subsequent Headmasters, Mr. John A. McMillan, Mr. Stanhope W. Porteous, Mr. William B. Willis, Mr. Hassett Stone, (Acting Headmaster), and the current Headmaster, Mr. David O. Wilson. The school no longer offers boarding, and trying to educate students today is not what it was in the '50s and 60's, but the students do continue to persevere and excel with perfect or near perfect passes in Physics in the annual CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) and CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency) Examinations.
Former students in large numbers have formed alumni associations in Atlanta, Jamaica, London, Miami, New York, and Toronto, with New York being the oldest (1975), and London being the youngest (2013). These Chapters' focus is interest in their Alma Mater, and they have never wavered in looking back to help those who came behind them. They give scholarships, support a strong mentoring program, lead drives to beautify the campus and repair buildings, provide computers and other needed equipment, and the list goes on.
Clarendon College was founded by the late Rev. Lester Davy on February 2, 1942, and every year at Founder's Day in February the entire school marches from where it was started at Rose Bank in Ivy Store, through the town of Chapelton and up the hill to the current campus. On the day before the school first opened its doors, at a special Divine Service to ask blessings on the school, Rev. Davy said:
"Tomorrow, by God's Grace, I shall
light a candle in Chapelton,
whose flame shall never be put out!"
The flame continues lit today, by God's Grace.