St Mary's College Off the beaten path


Chad Bryan, Youthlink Writer

Off the beaten path, down a steep, dilapidated roadway in Above Rocks, St Catherine, sits St Mary's College. The school serves the communities of Rock Hall, Glengoffe, Cassava River, Harkers Hall and a few others.

In January 1955, Father Edmund Cheney and four teachers took on the mammoth task of educating 26 privileged boys and girls, who had passed a highly selective entrance examination to qualify for the Roman Catholic institution. At the time, a number of students were boarders and subjects offered during their period of study included mathematics, Latin, English, history and geography. Girls wore a navy-blue tunic with white blouse, while boys wore khaki.

In many instances, the day-to-day operations were left to Sister Lucia, as Cheney was preoccupied with expanding the small property. Serving as the first principal, Cheney worked assiduously to expand the school's infrastructure to include guidance, boarding and administrative blocks. Over the years, St Mary's College has grown to accommodate approximately 900 students, along with nearly 40 teachers.

Some prominent Jamaicans who have passed through the hallowed halls of St Mary's College include Archbishop Charles DuFour, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart and former chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, Rear Admiral Peter Lorenzo Brady. 

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