Herbert Morrison Carving Out Its Own Space

Photo: Marlon Tingling Principal of Herbert Morrison Technical High School, in Montego Bay, Paul Adams, examines a running shoe that was donated to the school by one of its athletes. The school is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Story Highlights

  • In 1976, Herbert Morrison Comprehensive High School, on Alice Eldemire Drive, in Montego Bay, St. James, opened its doors to 540 students.
  • Forty years later and a slight adjustment to its name in the mid 1980s, the now Herbert Morrison Technical High School, which has 1,540 students on roll, has been steadily carving out its own space in the educational landscape of Jamaica.
  • The institution, with the motto: ‘Strength and Perseverance’, was named after one of Montego Bay’s most prominent sons, the late Dr. Herbert Morrison, and opened under the leadership of Lloyd Whinstanley, who served from 1976 until his retirement in 1999.

In 1976, Herbert Morrison Comprehensive High School, on Alice Eldemire Drive, in Montego Bay, St. James, opened its doors to 540 students.

Forty years later and a slight adjustment to its name in the mid 1980s, the now Herbert Morrison Technical High School, which has 1,540 students on roll,  has been steadily carving out its own space in the educational landscape of Jamaica.

The institution, with the motto: ‘Strength and Perseverance’,  was named after one of Montego Bay’s most prominent sons, the late Dr. Herbert Morrison, and opened under the leadership of Lloyd Whinstanley, who served from 1976 until his retirement in 1999.

Former Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President, Paul Adams, has been Principal of the institution since 2003.  He has a complement of 81 academic staff, including 2 Vice Principals.

He tells JIS News that his almost 13-year tenure so far at the school is building on the legacy of the founding Principal, Mr. Whinstanley.

“The school grew tremendously under his leadership and he has left a great legacy on which we continue to build. The school has achieved a lot in sports, in academics and in technical vocational education,” he notes.

Mr. Adams says the curriculum has also been expanded to meet the new and emerging trends of secondary education, with a view to preparing the students for higher learning and ultimately the world of work.

He notes that the school’s expansion and achievements in the areas of science, technology and technical vocational education, have made the school one of the most sought after learning institutions in western Jamaica.

“Herbert Morrison’s attractiveness (as a high school) is mostly the diverse programme offerings. Since 2003, Information Technology is a compulsory subject for grades 7 to 13. We now offer Physics, Chemistry and Biology as compulsory from grades 7 to 9. We have moved from the integrated science and the general science. The science programme is inter-twined into our technical vocational and home economics programmes, so it drives the requirements of a modern work world,” Mr. Adams says.

With a strong academic base, between 15 per cent and 20 per cent  of the graduates matriculate to universities while in Lower Sixth  Form and some 75 per cent head into tertiary institutions across the world after completing Upper Sixth Form.

The school also boasts a wide range of co-curricular activities to include Key Club, Rotoract, 4-H Club, Red Cross, Chess Club, Debating Club, Debating Club, Sports and Societies Club, Inter School Christian Fellowship (ISCF), and a very popular music band.

Herbert Morrison’s successes in sports include being current Under 16 and Under 19 champions in the western schools basketball competition; former DaCosta Cup football champions;  producing Dexter Lee as the World 100-metre Youth and Junior champion;  and  being the western netball champions.

Mr. Adams tells JIS News that Herbert Morrison has achieved much more than schools that have been around for more than 40 years.

“I think the reason has to do with two factors – foundation and vision. Mr. Whinstanley had both. He saw today from yesterday and he laid the foundation and the planks on which we could get today out of yesterday. When you look at the fundamental framework he laid down, that we are benefitting from in growing now, you could see that what you needed was an extension and an expansion of the vision,” he said.

Mr. Adams tells JIS News that despite the school being a high achiever, there is much more to come, as the institution is repositioned to face the future with more attractive academic and co-curricular programmes.

“We continue to revise our curriculum offerings. The sciences need to be expanded…in our lower school. We need to incorporate the sciences as compulsory for all areas, for the children to pick up a more investigative and inquisitive mind. Our technical vocational programme must now respond to 100 per cent technology,” he says.

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