Much has happened within the Kingston College community since my last message. As most of these developments have been carefully addressed in the Old Boys’ newsletter and elsewhere, I will not seek to be comprehensive in this message.
But there are matters to be emphasized. Undoubtedly in the first place, we all mourn the passing of our beloved past principal, Mr. Ivan “Wally” Johnson. Several fitting tributes have been offered in Mr. Johnson’s name, but it goes without saying that these are not enough, bearing in mind his outstanding and enduring contribution to Kingston College. The School, therefore, should give further thought to various ways in which we can give more permanent and extensive form to our love and respect for Mr. Johnson. Already, the Board has received suggestions in this regard, and is considering them. Sadly, the Reverend Canon Dr. John McNab also passed away within the last six months: the Board is also giving thought to ways in which we can mark the strong contribution that the Reverend McNab made to Kingston College, particularly in the period of the 1970s when he served as our Principal.
In the period under consideration, the Board – together with almost every stakeholder associated with the School -- has awaited word from the Teachers’ Services Commission on the appointment of a new Principal for Kingston College. As I indicated in a previous message, the Board undertook an extensive process in selecting its nominee for the position of Principal. The Board’s nomination was ratified by the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Alfred Reid, and this was transmitted to the Ministry of Education some months ago. In view of the delay in the appointment process, the Board has gratefully continued to rely on Mr. Everton Burrell in the position of Acting Principal. Mr. Burrell continues to be an active Acting Principal, and has given direction and drive to various initiatives sanctioned by the Board over the last year.
Douglas Forrest Lecture
On October 26, the Inaugural Douglas Forrest Lecture was held at the St. Augustine Chapel. The Guest Lecturer, Mr. Peter Maxwell, distinguished KC Old Boy, KC Head Boy, KC teacher, Lecturer and social activist, presented a spellbinding account of the life and times of our icon Douglas Forrest, with perceptive and revealing comments on Mr. Forrest the person, and on aspects of the Forrest legacy within and beyond the School. The Kingston College Old Boys Association (Local Chapter) under the leadership of Dr. Ray Fraser is to be congratulated for the masterstroke of inviting Mr. Maxwell, and I offer personal gratitude to Mr. Maxwell for his lecture. It is good to note that Sixth Formers -- including current Head Boy Reynell Barnett -- turned out in significant numbers to learn so much about the history of the School from Mr. Maxwell.
Over the past year, the Kingston College School Board has placed some degree of emphasis on improving the physical condition of the School. Thus, Old Boys will recall that Mr. Robert Kelly, a stalwart of the Kingston College Old Boys Association’s New York Chapter, has been serving as plant manager. Mr. Kelly has worked hard to improve the condition of the School, and I wish to express gratitude to him for his efforts and his contribution.
The road to improvement of the plant has not always been easy, and no doubt a number of factors explain this. However, for this message, I think it may be useful to mention what has been achieved. Among other things, the playing field at North Street has been improved considerably, so that right now the field is as green as mine eyes have seen for forty years. The Chemistry Laboratory has also been renovated. The seriously leaking roof of the Staff Room at North Street has been repaired. There is now a fence around the playing field at North Street, and one around the tennis court. There is now a railing around the outer area of the second floor of the Sixth Form building at Melbourne Park. The Nurse’s Station at North Street has been renovated and is fully operational.
In addition, on October 21, the renovated Kingston College Pavilion at North Street was reopened in the presence of the Acting Principal, the President of the local chapter of the Old Boys Association, various distinguished Old Boys and students. The renovation of the Pavilion, which has taken place under the guiding hand of Mr. Kelly, has been funded by the RuJohn Foundation, a foundation that is led by led by Andrew and Christina Bachelor, children of distinguished Old Boy, Mr. Byron Bachelor. This foundation has links with North American sportsmen and women, and in particular, players from the NBA and the NFL: it has generously funded the work on the Pavilion, in an outstanding gesture of goodwill. Mr. Audley Hewett, distinguished member of the Kingston College Old Boys Association (Florida Chapter) has been a key supporter of this project, and has worked with others in ensuring its successful completion.
There are other infrastructural matters to be addressed. For the longer term, the Board is seeking funding support for the expansion of the Douglas Forrest Building. There are also ongoing efforts to ensure repairs to leaking roofs and window areas at Melbourne Park; efforts will also be made to increase the size of the canteen at Melbourne, to repair the Table Tennis room there, and to work on the entrance to the North Street campus.
In the period under review, arrangements in respect of the Tastee concession were also put in place. The contract with Tastee has not yet been finalized, but some aspects of the arrangements have started. Thus, at both Melbourne Park and North Street, students may acquire Tastee patties and other items on a daily basis. The financial arrangements between Tastee and the School will redound to the benefit of the School.
Earlier this month Mr. Burrell and I met with a group of Sixth Form students at Melbourne Park. The discussion with the students was enlightening. They were not reluctant to identify areas in which the School could be improved, and they brought to my attention various issues that are not immediately evident to casual visitors at the School. I very much hope that as the Board embarks upon a new year of activity, we will all remember that all Board members, staff, Old Boys, parents and guardians, need to pull together for the benefit of the students, who constitute the raison d’etre of the School.
Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest.