Holmwood, the blessed school on the hill, is located in Sedburgh, North-east Manchester, on the Island of Jamaica. It was established as Jamaica's first vocational school in February, 1936, headed by Mr. Edgar B. Rogers, the first Superintendent. It was then a vocational/trade school with an enrolment of fifty male students. Students were exposed to several disciplines such as - Woodwork, Bookkeeping, Shoemaking, Tailoring, Auto Mechanics, Building Construction and Carpentry, with the main focus being Agriculture.
During this time, the students made all the furniture to supply the various departments within the school, as well as other government schools across the Island. Because of the agricultural emphasis, the school owned a farm known as Denham Farm in Chudleigh. The agricultural bias allowed the institution, along with two others (Knockalva Training Centre and Dinthill Practical Centre) to serve as a feeder schools to the then Jamaica School of Agriculture.
In 1938, the school was converted from a vocational school to a Practical Training Centre. Students came from as far as the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 1939, the school became a boarding institution. This gave way to the building of Richards Hall, which was used as the school's dormitory.
By September 1960, the school was converted to a full Technical High School foy Boys, but transitioned to a co-educational institution by September, 1961. With this transition, there was a considerable increase in the population as improvement in facilities was provided by the government through US AID. The students were placed into four streams serviced by an academic staff of twenty-five.
As a technical school, Mr. Winston B. Johnson was appointed the first principal of the school in 1961 . By this time, agriculture was discontinued and Denham Farm was sold. The curriculum now had a wider range of disciplines, and traditional High School subjects were offered. These included: Agricultural Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Art, Geography, History, English Language and Spanish. Practical subjects such as Metal Work, Auto Mechanics, Technical Drawing, Cookery, Dressmaking, Accounts, Typewriting, Shorthand, Office Practice, Surveying and Electrical Installation were also offered. In 1970, Mr. Johnson was succeeded by Mr. Ronald Hamilton, who in 1996, was in turn succeeded by Mr. Paul Bailey, the current principal.
1986 was a milestone year in the life of the school, as it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The celebrations kicked off with a church service in Christiana, with the Governor General, the Hon. Sir Florizel Glaspole as the guest speaker.
Over the years Holmwood has excelled in the field of sports. There have been major successes in Volleyball, Cricket, Netball and Athletics. In addition, there have also been successes in Music and Speech with the students gaining gold and silver medals in the JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) competitions. Quite recently, the school has been doing well at the Spanish Festivals. Many of the students who have participated in the sporting arena have gained positions and scholarships to various colleges and universities locally and abroad. They have also represented the school and Jamaica at local and international meets. The athletic season for the years 2003-2006 has been great ones for the school as the female athletes have dominated the National Girls' Athletics Championships .
Profiles - Principals
The following information profiles the current and past principals at Holmwood. We have applied our best efforts to present the most accurate information.
Our new Principal is:
Mr. Hidran McKulsky
(More details to follow...)
Mr. Paul Bailey (Former Principal)
Mr. Paul Bailey is the former Principal. He is a past student of Holmwood (Class of '76) and Knox College. He later attended the University of the West Indies where her recevied:
- Diploma in Education-Math
- Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with upper class honors (St. Augustine Campus)
He has a wealth of experience in the field of Education including:
- Assistant Principal: 1990-1996
- Head of Mathematics and Science Departments: 1985-1990
- Teacher of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry: 1996
Mr. Bailey obtained several awards for outstanding performance as a Peer Counselor while at the University of the West Indies in 1993-1994. His interest includes playing a variety of games, reading and teaching. He is a member of Christiana Rotary Club, Past Secretary and President of the Friends of Percy Junior Hospital. Mr. Bailey is married with two daughters and one son.
Mr. Ronald Hamilton (Past Principal)
Mr. Ronald Hamilton received an early education at Holy Rosary Preparatory School and later at St. Georges College. He pursued post high school studies at McGill University and the University of the West Indies. He did several other courses including Computer Programming, Youth Ministry and training as a deacon at St. Michael's seminary, to name a few.
His vast experience includes working as apprentice surveyor at Higgs and Hills Ltd., Junior Draughtsman at Government Survey department and assistant librarian at Gleaner Company.
As a teacher, he worked in various capacities such as:
· Three years at St. Mary's College as senior science teacher and founder/commanding officer in the cadet unit.
· Five years at St. Andrew Technical High School as Physics teacher, head of Math/Science department and acting vice Principal.
· He spent thirty (30) years at Holmwood Technical High School from 1967-1997 where he worked in the capacity of Vice Principal (2 years), acting Principal (2 years) and Principal (twenty six years).
After retiring from Holmwood, Mr. Hamilton worked as Director of Education at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mandeville. He is very community oriented and has served as:
· Chairman of JAMAL
· Advisory Board member of the Friends of Mount Olivet Boys Home
· President of the Association of Technical High School Principals
· Chairman of Manchester Advisory Board
· President and charter member of Christiana Rotary Club
· Chairman of Christiana Ministers' Fraternal
· Founder of Christiana Chapter of the United Nations Association of Jamaica
· Chairman of the DaCosta Cup Committee
His hobbies include camping, lawn tennis and badminton. Mr. Hamilton is married with six children.
Note: Profiles of other principals will follow as soon as the information becomes available.