Believing is achieving. That's the theme of Manzanilla Secondary School’s (MSS) achievement day, which is being held November 17 at the school’s hall, Cedar Hill Trace.
The event celebrates the accomplishments of students for 2022-2023.
The school, led by principal Petula Belfon-Nedd, hosted a similar exercise in February for students who sat exams in the academic year 2021-2022.
Owing to the limited accommodation in the hall, the event is divided into two separate celebrations.
The first, which runs from 9.30 am-11 am, honours the achievements of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) students. Ellis Joe is expected to be the keynote speaker.
The second celebration, which begins at 12.30 pm, focuses on the accomplishments of students from forms one to four. It includes awards in the areas of improvement and general proficiency, the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition and other merit awards.
The main speakers in this function are Jedaiah Saul and Amira Cox
Both functions will feature a cultural programme, which includes spoken-word pieces, pan, poetry and other items.
Backed by its motto, Learn Now and Benefit a Lifetime, Manzanilla Secondary School opened its doors in 2000.
Through its commitment to holistic education, the school has enjoyed much success in academics, sports and other extra-curricular activities over the past 23 years.
Apart from the teachers, parents and members of the school’s auxiliary staff have also contributed significantly to its success.
Teachers, several of whom have been at the school for more than a decade, spoke glowingly about the institution and the camaraderie that exists between the teaching and non-teaching staff. They described it as a well-rounded and family-oriented institution.
“As a member of staff, we have the best staff. We may disagree sometimes but when it gets right down to it, we’re there for each-other as a family in times of need and throughout hardships,” a teacher told Newsday.
Another teacher said, “The commitment of teachers is outstanding and their care and generosity, overwhelming. There is great cohesiveness with most members of staff and the teachers are talented in almost every aspect.”
Teachers, she said, often go beyond the call of duty.
“Most of them choose not to advertise how much extra they actually do for the students in private. I’ve heard, first-hand from a number of students, about some of our teachers who visit them at home, give them money every month, buy them school supplies and help their families.”
Another added, “I transferred my children to MSS because of the surety of their learning outcomes. We have the most caring staff and teachers who are dedicated to teaching.”
She also applauded the togetherness at the school.
“Manzanilla has a high level of collaboration and communication between teachers, MTS workers, auxiliary staff. The school also supports students’ involvement in extracurricular activities like sports, (and) cultural programmes,” she said.
She added the school also has a very supportive learning environment where teachers go the extra mile – on weekends and holidays – to support their charges.
“Teachers expect students to do their best because they give of their best.”
The teacher said Manzanilla Secondary also offers a safe learning environment.
Several years ago, the school produced a scholarship winner and it continues to have relatively successful CSEC and A-Level grades. Manzanilla Secondary has won several debate and young leaders’ competitions.
One of its past students La Quan Pearie, a former youth minister of tourism, was highlighted on the school’s Facebook page recently.
The school’s ability to combine the academics with extracurricular activities continues to be one of its strong points.
Although it has made a name for itself in cricket, it has also enjoyed considerable success in athletics, football, basketball and badminton.
“Despite the limited resources, our students still tend to do well and the majority of our students still maintain good conduct. Despite how crazy society has become they don’t follow the bad examples out there,” a teacher said.