- The St. Catherine based Kitson Town Evening Institute has over the past three years been offering a second chance to young people in the community.
- The Kitson Town Seventh Day Adventist Church organized the programme.
- Two hundred and eighty students are currently registered at the institute, and the exam results have been “marvelous”.
The St. Catherine based Kitson Town Seventh Day Adventist Evening Institute, with its 14 volunteer teachers, has over the past three years been offering a second chance to young people in the community who were not successful at their first try at the external exam, Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), with resounding success.
Damion Johnson tells JIS News that after his time had ended at the Morgan’s Pass All Age School, in Clarendon, at age 15, he “juggled around, doing just about anything that I could get. I worked on farms reaping oranges, and on construction sites,” the aspiring Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) member says.
When work took him to the St. Catherine community of Dover, near Kitson Town, young Johnson was informed of the institute, and with the help of the teachers there, he was successful in two Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects, and is currently pursuing another.
“I heard about the school and it was meant for me. I knew that I needed to further my education, so it was a perfect opportunity for me. I dug in deep…at times it was very challenging, and I felt like giving up. But, remembering that education is most important, and I wanted to be marketable in the workforce, I had to dig in deep,” he explains.
“I did two subjects (English and Social Studies), and I was successful in both of them, which I am very grateful for. At one point, having a subject seemed very farfetched, and for me to have two in my first sitting, it is an overwhelming feeling. I am here doing Mathematics now, and hopefully I will be successful in that also,” he adds.
Mr. Johnson tells JIS News that apart from his desire to join the JCF, he would like to become an entrepreneur, and to inspire the rest of his immediate family, as none has benefited from tertiary education. “I would really like to be that person to make the breakthrough, and be an example to my younger siblings,” he says.
Thanking the institute for his success, he is calling on young people in the community to “throw away the pride, as education is the most important tool for any person in the world today.”
“Pursue an education, because that is the only way to go. This is one of the best things that could ever happen to any young person,” he urges.
He also had high praise for the Kitson Town Seventh Day Adventist Church, which organized the programme.
“To facilitate such a programme, it is a very big plus for the community, and people should really look to get an education and pursue their dreams,” he says.
For Tachna Jones, who left high school with four Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, and had her eyes set on becoming a cosmetologist, her entry to the institute broadened her options.
“After entering the institute, and gaining another three subjects, I did a rethink. I wanted to be a cosmetologist, but after being here, I would like to pursue a degree in the accounting field,” she tells JIS News.
Miss Jones, who is currently employed in the private sector, explains that the teachers at the institute ensure that persons are well prepared for the exams. “It is affordable, and you get one-on-one teaching,” she notes.
Meisha Dixon, who also attends the evening classes, says she is enjoying her time there, and is confident she will be passing her examinations with high marks.
She is imploring other young persons in the area to join the programme, as their academic development will be sure.
Vice Principal at the institute, Granville Deleon, says the success of the programme, which is fully supported by Pastor Damion Chambers, is largely due to the free time given by the 14 teachers.
He informs that some 280 students are currently registered at the institute, and the exam results have been “marvelous”.
“This is one of the biggest things in the community, and people are excited. We also have people coming from Portmore, because of the success story that is on the streets. This year (2013/14), we registered 127 students. Last year we had a 75 per cent success rate in Math. We had people getting grade 1. In Human and Social Biology, we have almost a 100 pass rate,” Mr. Deleon tells JIS News.
Meanwhile, Principal, Michael McDonald, says many lives have been changed. “Many persons did not know they could pass CXC. I know persons who could not read, and this is where they have come. Persons who drop out of school, and had no hope, we offer them a second chance,” he notes.