Our History

Holy Childhood High School was founded on January 21, 1937 by Sister Francis Maria McLeod of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help of Jamaica (owners of the School). Sister Francis was, at the time, Headmistress for the Holy Childhood Preparatory School.

Sister Francis Maria envisioned another Catholic Secondary School where the poor and the rich would be comfortable and happy. Near the end of the January Term that year (1937), Sister Francis Maria made it clear to Sisters Stephen Maria Miles, F.M.S. and Ita Maria Clarke, F.M.S. (both members of the staff); that the children of the upper Forms of the Holy Childhood Preparatory School were ready to start Secondary School.

However, since they were happy and desired to remain at Holy Childhood (rather than move on to a new school), preparations for their Secondary Education had to begin immediately. Thus The Holy Childhood High School began with eight girls; Monica Buie; Dorothy George; Patsy Escoffrey; Lorna Silvera; Gloria Foster; Juanita Duncan; Carmen DaCosta; Emily Bubb-Clarke. There were also two boys, George Khouri and Arthur Vendryes. These boys were later accepted at St. George's College in January 1938.

In class there were the wealthy and the poor, and the Sisters knew that both had to be educated to become great women of the nation. The School was named "Holy Childhood" in honour of the Childhood of Jesus. The vision of the early Sisters was to form Christ in the young people, teaching them to love God, obey His will and grow in wisdom like the Child Jesus in the home of Mary and Joseph.

   childJesus  Image of the Child Jesus with arms extended in welcome and blessing; overlooking the entrance to the School

The School’s motto; "After the Battle The Reward," was carefully selected by Sister Francis Maria who became its first Principal, and it reflects the thinking of the founding Sisters and their successors that any goal worth achieving, was worth striving for – even against seemingly unsurpassable odds. The newly founded High School was accommodated on the grounds of St. Francis Convent, in a section of the building that housed the Holy Childhood Preparatory School. Within a year there was sufficient growth in its student population for it to continue. It is beyond imagination how the following Sisters in their role as Principal, carried out this wondrous ministry in their respective years of service.

That time was one of social and colour prejudice as well as poverty with people enduring the ending of the Great Depression only to face World War II. These valiant Jamaican black women were untrained teachers who survived the odds against criticism, lack of proper accommodation, and prejudice. For the first twenty years the School was funded entirely by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters. Despite financial constraints there was much growth and progress and this has continued.

 

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Development and Expansion
In 1946 the High School vacated the premises of the Preparatory School for the present site at 9 Skibo Avenue and nine (9) classrooms were built. Sister Ita Maria Clarke, F.M.S., Sister Mary Thomas Walsh, F.M.S. and a parent, Mr. Lloyd worked very hard to attain the status of Grant-in-Aid for Secondary Schools and this was obtained on August 1, 1957 through the approval of the then Minister of Education, Mr. Florizel Glasspole. This did not just happen. It took determination, dedication and many years of hard work and sacrifice on the part of the Sisters, teachers, parents and students.

At that time a building grant was approved and plans were started for a new school building to be erected. This was achieved by appealing to Bishop McEleney through Father Walter Ballou and Father Louis Grenier S.J. of the Advisory Board for Catholic Schools. Two-thirds of the cost of erecting the building was contributed by the Ministry of Education and the rest was provided by the School. By August 1967, the new building was completed and handed over to the High School. The buildings consisted of twelve classrooms, library, Chemistry Laboratory, Biology Laboratory, Home Economics Department and a small cafeteria.

A Brief Chronology

 During the period of 1961-1966, the School was administered by Sister Mary Sebastian FMS during which time it continued to make good progress. The Teaching of Chemistry was introduced. The School was upgraded and the students were qualified for admission to Universities.

Sister Mary Stephanie Grey, FMS served as Principal between 1966 and 1995. In 1966 - The Commercial Department was started with twenty-four students and the Language Lab (the first in the Island) was built. These entities no longer exist. In the same year, the Cafeteria was enlarged and the Music Room was built. The Offices, Staff Room and Library were extended.

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 Between 1969 and 1970 French, German and Physics were introduced into the curriculum. The Guidance programme was started and the Career programme improved.

 In 1971 the School was upgraded from "C" to "B" Grade.

 Between 1971-1972 the building of the new Science Block and further expansion of offices, staff room and library took place.

 In 1974 The Swimming Pool and changing rooms were erected.

 In 1976 the multi-purpose Hall (Stephanie Hall) was erected. The School was again upgraded and it moved from a "B" to an "A" Grade. 14 Cargill Avenue was purchased and added to the property used by the High School. Twelve new classrooms and Sanitary Block were constructed.

1985 The Computer Programme was begun with five computers.

1986 The Inauguration of the Medical/Dental Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Charmaine Barrett (a past student) and Dr. Opal Goodridge.

1986 The property of 12 Cargill Avenue was purchased and added to the property used by the High School.

The School’s population now stands at over 1700 students. Over the years, our School has continued to grow and develop under the valiant leadership of principals Sisters Maria Goretti Gray FMS and James Marie Fitzgordon FMS. Mrs. Angela Stennett and Miss Elizabeth Green served as acting principals, during the period 2005 - 2006 and 2006 - 2009 respectively. Sister Maxine Marie McIntosh FMS now serves as the current principal.

Additional buildings and facilities have been acquired, and modern technology now forms a significant part of classroom pedagogy as well as the School’s management system. We are proud of the fact that our collaborative stakeholders remain committed to optimizing the Holy Childhood Brand in order to secure a sound educational future for our nation’s children.

May the Holy Child, Jesus remain a constant model for all; but especially for our beloved children.

POST PRAEMIUM PROELIUM

After the Battle, the Reward!