JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The compound of the St. Mary Technical High School, in Richmond, St. Mary, was transformed into a makeshift hotel, on March 4, as students and teachers celebrated Jamaica Day, 2016, in style.
  • The aim of this year’s Jamaica Day activities was to educate, while celebrating and promoting Jamaica’s creative industries.
  • Jamaica Day forms part of the Ministry of Education’s Culture Education Programme, and is observed in all schools islandwide.

The compound of the St. Mary Technical High School, in Richmond, St. Mary, was transformed into a makeshift hotel, on March 4, as students and teachers celebrated Jamaica Day, 2016, in style.

Upon entry to the ‘hotel’, dubbed the ‘Richmond Valley Resort and Spa’, visitors were guided by friendly, courteous ‘staff’ to the reception area where they were invited to sign the guest book.

Guests were then ushered to the Information Centre, where they were given relevant information on the ‘hotel’ and a directory to enable them to smoothly manoeuvre their way through the facility.

As the host school for the official Jamaica Day celebration, the students and teachers conceptualised this unique idea to illustrate the theme for this year: ‘Celebrating Jamaica, Promoting the Arts’.

All schools were required to plan and showcase activities highlighting the Creative Industries, but not limited to the Performing Arts.

Speaking at the official ceremony on a stage placed at the centre of the institution, Principal, Glascine McCormack Lazarus, said it was significant that St. Mary Technical was chosen as the focus school, as the institution is celebrating 45 years of existence this year.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Maurice Smith, praised the school on the innovative idea of a hotel, noting that he was pleased with the “service” he received upon arrival.

In a heartfelt, unscripted speech, Dr. Smith told the students to firstly celebrate themselves as they celebrate Jamaica Day, noting that the country can be proud of its people.

“Celebrate your youth, celebrate the time that you have, celebrate the fact that you are alive, celebrate yourself,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, who is also a motivational speaker, encouraged the students to make the best of their youth and enjoy it while they have “absolutely nothing to worry about.”

“This is the best time of your lives… All you have to do is to come to school, learn your lessons, pass your exams and behave yourselves,” he said.

The aim of this year’s Jamaica Day activities was to educate, while celebrating and promoting Jamaica’s creative industries.

Specifically, the event sought to help students develop a greater awareness for the economic possibilities in the cultural and creative industries; to recognize that the cultural and creative industries are viable career paths; to view the arts as a medium of promulgating social awareness; to understand that the arts is a means of preserving the country’s culture and traditions; and to develop an awareness of the arts as a driver of the curriculum.

At the ‘hotel’, the theme was demonstrated throughout, as visitors were treated to games, cultural experiences, music, and the creative arts.

Guests enjoyed the  VIP area, dubbed the ‘Escape Lounge’; Business and Communication Centre, of which the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) was a part; living quarters, including a honeymoon suite and dining facilities; relaxation and recreation centre,  which included a spa, gaming lounge and gym; a shopping centre, including a Spanish Heritage Museum, furniture store, craft market and book store.

Jamaica Day forms part of the Ministry of Education’s Culture Education Programme, and is observed in all schools islandwide.

Its core objective is to provide opportunities to learn more about Jamaica and affirm the country’s unique contribution to the world.