St. George's College, Jamaica

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St. George's College
Address
Winchester Park
North Street
Kingston, Jamaica
Information
Motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For the Greater Glory of God)
Religious affiliation(s) Christianity
Denomination Roman Catholicism
Patron saint(s) St. George
Founded September 2, 1850
Founder Fr. Emmanuel Gil, S.J.
School board Ministry of Education
Gender All-male
Enrolment 1350
Houses Bellarmine (red & gold), Campion (red & white), Loyola (green & white), Regis (red & green) and Xavier (blue & gold)
School colour(s) Blue and White
Athletics Basketball, badminton, chess, cricket, football, lawn tennis, rugby, swimming, table tennis, track & field, water polo
Mascot St. George
Nickname George's or STGC
Rival Kingston College
Website

St. George's College is an all-male, Roman Catholic high school in Kingston, Jamaica; as of 2005, the College opened its Pre-University Programme (Sixth Form) to female students. It was established 1850 by 21 Spanish Jesuits who had been exiled from Colombia as part of a religious persecution. Today, it is one of the oldest and most respected learning institutions in the country, producing at least six Rhodes Scholars.

History[edit]

Early beginnings

St. George's Colonial College was founded in 1850 by twenty-one (21) Spanish Jesuits who had been exiled from Colombia as part of a religious persecution. The Colombian Government had given them approximately 9 hours to leave the country by any means necessary. After they failed to leave, due to unavailability of transportation, the government extended their time to 48 hours; within the 48 hour time, a lone ship was leaving for Jamaica, which they boarded.

At their head was Fr. Emmanuel Gil, S.J., a distinguished scholar and former court preacher to the King of Spain. Amidst a storm of protest against Roman Catholic priests opening Jamaica's first secondary institution for classical and scientific education, St. George's College began its long and proud history. The early years of the school's life were uncertain, as it was closed several times in the first few decades of its existence, but the principal at that time bought the present property where the school stands to this day.

On September 2, 1850, in a rented house at 26 North Street, located on the southeast corner of North and Orange Streets, the new college opened with thirty-eight (38) day students and thirty (30) boarders. The first subjects taught at St. George's included Latin, Greek, French, English, Rhetoric, History, Mathematics, Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Drawing and Calligraphy.

After only two years, the Spanish Jesuits, led by founder Father Gil, S.J., departed Jamaica to teach in Guatemala, turning St. George's over to the English Jesuits. They left primarily because of the difficulties in language, with English being a second language to them. The school moved to 5 Upper King Street and changed its name to the St. George's Presbytery Secondary School. There it remained until January 1866, when, for reasons which remain unclear, it was closed. A few months later, thanks to Father James Jones, S.J., the school reopened with twenty-five (25) students and moved back to its original site at 26 North Street, again under the name St. George's College.

Only three years later, succumbing to the opposition of the Jesuit Superior, the school was closed a second time, around Christmas of 1871. On this occasion, the strong petitions of ninety-two (92) influential Kingstonians convinced the Jesuits to reopen St. George's College; the school reopened in March 1873, but on a smaller scale, with only two Jesuit teachers. The school prospered until September 1877, when it was closed a third time; this closure, however, lasted only a few days. The return of Father James Jones, S.J., and the leadership of Father Thomas Porter, S.J., assured the continued life and irrepressible growth of St. George's College, which has endured to this day.

Expansion and Development

In February 1905, the Jesuits bought a large property called Pawsey's Pen (what is now Winchester Park) from Mr. Alfred Pawsey. They converted the Pawsey residence into a classroom building and had classes started before the end of March. (That original building stood until 1979, when it was demolished to make way for the new Abe Issa Auditorium.) Classes were suspended briefly after the earthquake in 1907 while the campus, partially destroyed and subsequently repaired, was used as a hospital for victims of what was Kingston's worst earthquake ever.

The present Jesuit residence (now called the Jesuit Centre) was built in 1910, and the Jesuits finally moved over from the old site at North and Orange Streets. Enrollment in the College at that time was barely one hundred boys, but more classroom space was needed. In 1913, the construction of a new building was authorised by the headmaster whose name it bears, Father William O'Hare, S.J. Its architect was Mr. Braman Judah, who two sons, Sydney and Charles, later became Jesuit priests. The O'Hare Building has since become the landmark of St. George's College.

In March 1939, St. George's College built the first Science Laboratory in the island. It was blessed and dedicated by His Lordship Bishop Emmet, S.J. in the presence of His Excellency Sir Arthur Richards, KCMG. Chemistry was introduced to the College in January 1955 by Fr. John A. Blatchford, S.J. At the dedication of the Chemistry laboratory, hopes were expressed that a Biology laboratory could soon be erected in addition, seeking to give the students at St. George's the best possible preparation for the professions, especially in light of the fact that Jamaica had a great shortage of medical doctors. The daily newspapers were constantly exposing this shortage and any contribution to the solution of the problem would be a blessing to the island.


Jamaica's first Faculty of Sciences

In 1945, the first Biology classes were started at the College, again with Fr. Blatchford, S.J. being the initiator. In January 1947 the present Biology lab was completed and commissioned into operation. It is again to be noted that these were the first Chemistry and Biology laboratories on the island. The Chemistry lab built even before the University of the West Indies (U.W.I.) was built, and the Biology lab was built before the U.W.I. had any labs constructed.

Continuing the emphasis in sciences, the Physics lab was built and completed in January 1953, thus completing the "Faculty of Sciences" at the College. The building was dedicated by Rt. Rev. John J. McEleney, S.J. on Friday, June 26, 1953.


Becoming a Government school

St. George's College decided to become a grant-in-aid school in 1936, and it became a part of the Government's educational system. The Jamaican Government would provide the funds for the salaries of the teaching faculty and staff. This new status, however, forced the Jesuits to give up some control of the school to the Ministry of Education. In 1956, the Ministry of Education established a Common Entrance Examination, ending the College's own entrance examination and selection of its students. The Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) was initiated in 1998, further regularising the entrance of students.

Discipline has always been a strong element of St. George's College, and the College's Merit/ Demerit system was inaugurated by Fr. William Hannas, S.J. in 1940. This system was instituted to maintain a firm discipline but also to encourage a spirit of competition. To this end, Fr. Hannas, S.J. emphasised the English-based House system already existing at the College. The student body at that time was divided into three 'houses': Bellarmine, Campion and Xavier, named after Jesuit saints. Two more houses were later added: Loyola in September 1941, and Regis in the late 1950s. These five (5) houses have become rivals for leadership in studies, sports and discipline.


Recent Development

The campus has continued to build up. In 1950, as part of the College's Centenary Anniversary, the Old Boys' Association made a commitment to construct a pavilion at Emmet Park. This was completed and handed over to the College on July 1, 1951. In 1955, the lawn tennis courts were built. In March of 1956, the roadway to link Emmet Park with the rest of the campus was constructed.

St. George's College has continued to grow. The Abe Issa Auditorium, the Fr. William Hannas Building (which houses the Canteen), and the Fr. Crutchley, S.J. Computer Laboratory were completed by 1986, and Emmet Park was restored in 1991. The USAID-funded Butler building expansion, and the Student Development Centre were completed in 1993, and the Archbishop Samuel E. Carter, S.J. Library was completed in 1997. The Thomas Brodley, S.J. Computer Laboratory was completed in 2002.


Student and Staff Population

The size of the student population has continued to grow steadily over the years. In 1905 when the College moved to Winchester Park, the student population was approximately one hundred (100) students. By 1942, the student enrollment had slowly risen to two hundred and thirty-five (235) students; by 1952, four hundred and fifty-two (452) students, and in 1962, the year Jamaica gained independence, enrollment had risen to in excess of eight hundred (800) students. As of 2005, there were almost one thousand, three hundred and fifty (1350) students. Correspondingly, the size of the faculty has also grown steadily. In 1905, there were eleven teachers (six Jesuits and five lay men) but by 1942, the number had risen slightly to thirteen faculty members (twelve Jesuits and one lay man). In 1952, there were twenty-six (26) teachers (eighteen Jesuits and eight lay men). As of 2005, there were more than seventy (70) teachers in office for the next five years.


Vision

The school's motto reflects the vision and spirit of the over 160-year old institution: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory of God). Built on such traditions, the future is bright for St. George's College.

Motto[edit]

The school's full motto is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God).

Notable Alumni[edit]

St. George's College has produced a number of prominent members of Jamaican society, including a number of academics, entertainers, radio and television personalities, prominent businessmen and high-ranking executives in major Jamaican companies.

Academia

  • Professor Emeritus Anthony Chen (Member of Nobel Prize Team, 2007)
  • Professor Trevor Munroe
  • Professor Robert Lue - Director of Life Sciences Education at Harvard.
  • Professor Donald D. Clarke
  • Dr. Paris Lyew-Ayee
  • Dr. Rory Dixon
  • Professor Terrence Forrester
  • Bishop Gibson
  • Maurice Tenn
  • Dr. J. Peter Figueroa
  • Reverend Glenn Archer
  • Professor Robert Hill
  • Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong
  • Paul Issa
  • Hon. Abe Issa
  • Barry Chevannes

Arts and Culture

Business and Finance

  • Dr. G. Raymond Chang, O.J.
  • Francis Kennedy
  • Ferdinand Mahfood
  • Robin Mahfood
  • Carl Antony Chang

Clergy

  • Monsignor Gladstone Wilson
  • Rev. Fr. Richard Ho Lung
  • Archbishop Lawrence A. Burke
  • Rev. Fr. Denis Crutchley

Engineering

  • Thomas Lyew
  • Richard Thompson
  • Glenn Chin- Mission Specialist at NASA

Politics and Law

  • Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding
  • Senator Dwight Nelson
  • Senator Don Wehby
  • Senator Alex Williams
  • Ambassador K.G. Anthony Hill, C.D.
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice Ian Forte, O.J., C.D., Q.C. (former Director of Public Prosecutions and President of the Court of Appeal)
  • The Hon. B. St. Michael Hylton, O.J., Q.C. (former Solicitor General and Chairman of the General Legal Council)
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice Raymund King (current Justice of the Supreme Court)
  • Maurice Tenn
  • Reverend the Hon. Ronald Thwaites (Media Personality, Lawyer, Catholic Deacon, Current Minister of Education)
  • Carl Anthony Chang (Former: Liaison Director of the Ontario Chapter of the St. George's College Old Boys association)
  • Public Defender Earl Witter
  • Councillor Ian Telfer
  • Councillor Carl Little

Science

  • Dr. Aggrey Irons
  • Dr. John Figueroa
  • Dr. John Harpes
  • Dr. Terrence Forrester

Sports


Other

Rhodes Scholars[edit]

  • 1956 Tenn, Maurice Samuel George (Oriel).b. 26 January 1934. Educ. St. George's College; Princeton, B.A. 1956. Mod. Hist. 2nd Cl. Read for B. Litt. Senator and Parliamentary Secretary, Min. of Finance 1976, Min./Dir. Consular and Legal Services, J.High Commission London 1977-80.
  • 1966 Munroe, Trevor St. George (New College).b.10 December 1944. Educ. St. George's College; Univ. of the W. Indies, B.Sc. Econ. 1st Cl. Hons. M.Sc. Govt. 1966. Nuffield Coll. 1967-69 D.Phil. Social Scns. Lect., 1969-77; Sr. Lect. 1977- Dept of Govt., UWI; Res. Fellowships ISER 1977/78; Dept. of Pol. Studies, Queen's University Can. 1988-89; Institute od Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands 1989-90; Co-Editor ABENG Newspaper 1969; Pres. University & Allied Workers Union 1977-; General Secretary, Workers Party of Jamaica 1978-.
  • 1968 Thwaites, Ronald George (Campion Hall).b. 12 February 1945. Educ. St. George's College; Cornell Univ. B.A. 1967; Univ. of the W. Indies 1967-68. Jurispr. 2nd Cl. Univ. of the W. Indies: Research Fellow in Faculty of Law 1970-.; PartTime Lect., Dept. of Hist. 1973; Lect., Dept of Sociol. 1971-. Kingston Legal Aid Clinic: Dir. And Chmn. Of Board 1973-75. Chmn, of Board, Dir., Social Action Centre 1975-. Practice of Law 1976-. Host JBC's Public Eye Programme Since 1976. Deacon, Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1993 Thwaites, Daniel John (Commonwealth Caribbean and Campion Hall), b 22 Sept 1971, Kingston, Jamaica. Educ St. Georges's Coll, Ont 1987-9; Queen's Univ Kingston (Ont) 1989-91, BA 1991; Univ W Indies 1991-2; Campion Hall 1992-4 (Scholp 1993-4, Jurispr 2:1 cl 1994; Heythrop Coll, London from 1994, reading for MA (Philos). 62 Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica.
  • 1996 Thompson, Richard (Trinity) Educ. St. George's College; University of the West Indies, B.Sc. (Elect. Eng.) First Class; D. Phil (Eng.).)
  • 1997 Williams, Cory (Green) Educ. St. George's College; University of the West Indies, B.Sc. (Med.)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 17°58′38″N 76°47′05″W / 17.9772°N 76.7847°W / 17.9772; -76.7847