To a tower of strength
defeating them at least once in competition. The school choir also placed second in the 2015 staging of the All Together Sing competition, and was the first high school to make it to the finals of the Dancing Dynamite competition placing third. All this and more, despite the lack of structural support, said Humes-johnson.
“This is against the fact that the school does not have a theatre arts teacher. In the last set of JCDC competition we were very outstanding in the dance that we submitted, and went through to nationals. We also entered Boys’ and Girls Champs, and Eastern Champs where we split the 22 schools that participated, placing 11th, and we don’t have an on-theground coach. We also entered volleyball for the first time and we were called upon to be in the tournament and we went right up to semi-finals. So we know that we have talents here, where if we put certain things in place and if we get the help that we need, we would go very far,” said Humes-johnson.
As part of the Ministry of Education’s thrust to extend schooling by two years, the school also offers exit examination certification through the Centre of Occupational Studies, in collaboration with The Moneague College, as well as the CAP (Career Advancement Programme).
Vice-principal, Joan Peart-armstrong told the Sunday Observer that the school has it fair share of challenges, but that the close to 60 staff members, comprising academic, administrative and ancillary, along with the students and parents, all work as a family.
“We refer to ourselves as the Iona family, so we have that type of atmosphere here. Whether it’s the parents or students, we see them as part of the family and we treat them accordingly.
“We have our students who are challenging, and where you
find in some other schools they are quick to get rid of them, we work with them to find ways to find out what is happening at home, working with the parents, involving the guidance counsellor and so on to see what we can do to help those students to settle down and do well.
“Some of our students do better at the practical subjects, but because social issues and financial problems at home we from time to time, put our hands in our own pockets. We are in the tourism belt, so therefore, we try to guide them in that area so they can find jobs,” Peart-Armstrong said.
Physically, the Vice Principal also admitted that the student population has exceeded the school’s capacity, requiring at least six additional classrooms. But perhaps an interesting twist to this dilemma is the scenic beauty of the immaculate school campus. Perched on a slope overlooking the Caribbean Sea, having to sometimes host classes outside for want of classrooms offers much consolation.
“The environment in which we work, it is very pleasing to the eye and it creates that atmosphere of calm, relaxation. No matter how challenging things become, and we do have our challenges at this school, I can always step outside after dealing with a disciplinary matter. or just having work on my desk, I can step outside and I look out at the sea and I look around at the greenery and it brings some amount of calm,” said Peart-armstrong
Student and member of the Key Club, Dejourn Lawrence shared that her school environment was something she and her peers were most proud of.
“We love our school grounds most of all. It’s always clean and during exam time or when we don’t have a classroom, we can just sit outside and enjoy the breeze.”
Long-standing groundsman, Linford Davis or “Mr Steppa” as he is called by the school community, has been awarded Most outstanding Worker at least three times by the Ministry of Education, and continues to serve the institution although he retired in 2016.
“From you come and see how the school look, you know that I love my job,” Davis said.
The school’s celebration kicks off today with a church service. There will also be a homecoming week in June, when a wall of fame in honour of those who have contributed to the growth of the school, will be erected. As part of the celebration, there will also be a pilgrimage to Lucky Hill.
“What we are going to do is place a plaque in Goshen in the church, which will state that the school was founded there and that continues in Tower Isle as the Iona High School,” Williams told the Sunday Observer.
The celebrations will end in November with a Founders’ Lecture.
Partial representation of Iona High School’s academic, administrative and ancillary staff.
Founders of Iona High and Preparatory schools, Dr Herbert Swaby and Gwendolyn Swaby.
Students stroll along the front lawn of the Iona High School.
Grade 11 Iona High School students (from left), Kimberly Grandison; Jalissa Bygrave, wearing her prefect vest, and Dashanae Johnson