Hopewell in high spirits! - School, community elated after All Together Sing win
It was Monday morning, December 9, 2019, and tears of joy flowed in eastern Hanover. Vuvuzelas and pot covers provided jubilant background instrumentals to the non-stop dancing and celebration of students, staff, and parents of the Hopewell High School. They were in high spirits following their win in the All Together Sing competition, which culminated on Sunday evening.
The school population was ecstatic, and the feeling seemed contagious as right across the parish of Hanover, people were congratulating Hopewell High School students as they have suddenly become the pride of the parish and the envy of several other schools.
In celebrating the achievement, principal of the school Byron Grant, who has been in charge of the institution for the last 14 years, almost lost his voice and struggled to give The Gleaner an interview about the achievement.
“Right now, this morning, I am super elated. As you can hear, my voice is already gone. Right now, we are in a joyous mood in the school. Parents, teachers, students, everybody, they are really celebrating because finally, we have brought this trophy to Hanover, and more so to the western region of Jamaica,” he told The Gleaner.
He stated that extra preparation was made to have the students ready over the 10-week period of the competition, noting that even late-night training and preparation had been taking place.
With the competition celebrating 15 years of existence, Grant pointed out that this was not the first time that Hopewell High is participating but that it was the first time that the school had progressed beyond the elimination round.
“There were times when we had to get persons from the community to come in and assist because when the energy of staff members was waning, community members came in and assisted us tremendously,” he stated.
“We have a lot of schools around that supported us also; all the schools were just fully supportive of us,” he noted.
Pointing out that the school had also won the Hanover Junior Mayor Competition this year, Grant went on to promise great future performances from the school, making special mention of the annual Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association’s Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, stating that Hopewell High will be making great impressions in that competition in 2020.
“We are not where we want to be as an institution; it is still work in progress. I would say we are 75 per cent of where, we intend to be, and where as a community we want to push our students to be,” he said.
Master teacher at the institution Veta Porter-Brown told The Gleaner that Hopewell High was a new school in the west that was designed to help students with all kinds of challenges.
“We do not only do academics, but we do skills, and the music is one such area. As we say in our motto, ‘Forging for excellence’, and forging, in this case, if you look on the choir, it is really big, and so you have students of all levels. It is about the skill, the talent, the arts, everything,” she stated.
She pointed out that some 16 skill areas are taught alongside academics and said that all students, members of staff, and even parents take responsibility for what happens in the school, as they all consider themselves part owners of the institution.
“This win is not just about the school, it is about western Jamaica,” she argued.