Returning fifth form students at the Parkinson Memorial School will have to participate in community service if they want one of the coveted, limited spots.
Noting that each year they could only accommodate about 60 or so returning fifth formers, Principal Jeff Broomes told parents at a meeting at the weekend to discuss a number of changes from September that he was requiring students to sign contracts to re-enter school
These contracts, he explained would insist, that among other things, the returning fifth formers would agree to do a certain number of subjects at CXC and commit to community service.
“I have already drawn up a contract. All children who have got their guaranteed years at school and want to have an additional year back at school and many do, to get another certificate, must fill out an application and sign a contract.
“The contract speaks to a certain number of things. It speaks to the fact that there must be a minimum of four subjects. This is going to be a battle with me and the staff, but all that will happen, they will cuss me … but I ain’t gine change. All those children that coming back to do four, must do them at CXC. Don’t tell me you gine come back and you ain’t doing CXC,” he said.
This, he said, would cut down on the possibility of students returning, refusing to do CXCs, but spending the school days wandering around the compound when they should be in class, with the excuse that they were not sitting exams.
Additionally, the principal said his secretary was already working on a list of places in the immediate environs where the children could also commit to community service.
“Every child that comes back this year, must give four, four hours of voluntary service to the community. You find a children’s home, a senior citizens’ home, yuh primary school…
“The idea is you have to give service to your country and we will have a booklet for you, the person supervising the place will sign, if it is during school time, we will look at your timetable and arrange for you to leave school early or go school late at those times because we have got to start creating a thought process in children’s heads that you don’t get anything for free. You are not a mendicant, coming around begging; if you want something you have got to give,” said Broomes.
He said he had seen students from some of the other schools like The St. Michael School, Harrison College and others engaging in similar projects and was convinced the returning students at Parkinson could benefit from similar engagement.
The new regulations governing the returning fifths is the second of two “protocols” that will be instituted, the first of which is a proposal for the formulation of a benevolent fund for students.
With the fund, parents will commit to donating $2 per term to help a less fortunate child in the school, while the principal will commit $1,000 per year, and teachers will also be asked to donate. (LB)