By Brittany Brewster
Some teachers at Harrison College are hoping to dispel any misconceptions about the College and its curriculum as parents and Class 4 students consider which secondary school they want to attend in September.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY on Friday at the school’s Open House, Natasha Greenidge, first-form year head at the school, said she wants to break down any rumours or myths about the Crumpton Streeet Secondary School and answer any questions parents may have.
“When I met parents at orientation after their child had passed for Harrison College is when we heard about all the things they would have heard or the different ideas they would have about the school. So we try to reach out to parents and students before they make the choice,” Greenidge said.
The open house, held for the first time since 2019, showcased life at Harrison College to students of the St. Cyprian’s Preparatory Boys’ School, People’s Cathedral Primary School and St. Angela’s primary school.
The event was part of the school’s outreach ahead of this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), widely known as the Common Entrance Exam or the 11-Plus.
While the turnout of primary schools was less than expected, Greenidge said she still views the event as a success as she received positive feedback from parents and students alike.
Another teacher at the school, Carl Applewaithe, shared the same sentiments, stating that the students he met seemed very enthusiastic and open to learning more about the school.
It’s all about the primary school students getting that authentic experience of Harrison College so that they can see what the school is actually about. There are some myths out there and you find that those myths are debunked when people experience the products and our offerings first-hand,” he said.
The sixth form year head also acknowledged the importance of assisting with the transition of students from primary to secondary school so that they know the next steps they will have to take.
“The open house gives students – those who are about to set the Common Entrance this year, the opportunity to see the kinds of activities in which they can be involved both extracurricular and in terms of academics. They also get to see what the secondary school setting is like. So operationally, they can see the first formers in a class because there would be some difference between their primary school setting and the setting within a secondary school,” he stated.
Students also got the opportunity to see the activities and clubs on display at the school, including the robotics club, aeronautic club, the college liberators, the art club and the photography club.
They took guided tours of the key points and attractions at the school, which opened almost 300 years ago.
Some parents said they appreciated the invitation to the open house, as some of their children are still undecided about the secondary school they want to attend.
One parent, Ria Phillips said: “Growing up, I have always been not only about academics. I think there should always be a balance with extracurricular activities. To see that is something big here is very comforting and something to look forward to.”
Nicholas Beckles, who at one point believed the school was focused only on academics, said he was surprised at the extracurricular activities and clubs being offered.
“The tour shed some light on the hearsay I [got] from other persons about what Harrison College is about and being here shows that the school is not focused primarily on education,” he said.
Beckles lauded Harrison College’s outreach efforts and stated he believed other secondary schools should take part, as it would not just help students but serve as a guide for parents.
In response, year head of the third form, Carl Beckles, noted that the open day was a good opportunity to allay any fears parents might have, while also showing that Harrison College is a “regular school” that is serious about education.