Kingston Technical invoking alumni legends to break stigma
Weeks after girl’s death, principal moves to crush seeds of conflict
Kingston Technical High principal Maulton Campbell has launched a campaign to rekindle school pride and to undertake a deeper psychological profile of his student population to prevent a recurrence of the schoolyard fight that left one girl dead...
Kingston Technical High principal Maulton Campbell has launched a campaign to rekindle school pride and to undertake a deeper psychological profile of his student population to prevent a recurrence of the schoolyard fight that left one girl dead and another charged with murder.
Eleventh-grader Michion Campbell was fatally stabbed by a schoolmate on the school compound in September.
“We’re putting in place all the systems. We’re ensuring that we really know who our students are, and we’re making sure that we respond very quickly to anything that is likely to lead to a conflict,” the principal said.
Those measures will also involve fostering school pride and constant reminders of Jamaican legends’ heritage in performing arts, academics, and sports.
Mr Campbell said the school had a treasure trove of acclaimed past students, including entertainer Jimmy Cliff, musician Sonny Bradshaw, Olympians Una Lorraine Morris and George Rhoden, and poet Mutabaruka.
“Our students are aware of that, and we will continue to produce great stars now and in the future,” he said in a Gleaner interview Friday.
He said he spent the three years of his principalship trying to change the perception of the school.
“When I got here, people were saying this is an inner-city school. I said no, because we’re in the same circle as KC and George’s, and we’ve been here 126 years, and we have our own stars and persons who have excelled over the years,” he said, referencing Kingston College and St George’s College, all-boys’ schools on North Street in the capital.
Mr Campbell was speaking last Friday at a special awards ceremony at the school, where three students were recognised for their humanitarianism in trying to assist Michion when she was stabbed.
The awards ceremony was organised by the Philadelphia-based Rudolph Prendergast Foundation. The students, Ajani Stewart, Kaydeja Dixon and Christina Phillips, were given plaques as well as certificates from the Universal Peace Foundation.
“In lieu of what is happening, it’s time for us to start respecting students and honouring them when they do something great - living for the sake of others, not taking up a video camera and videotaping a young Michion dying, but actually rendering some assistance. I think it’s a remarkable job,” spokesperson for the Rudolph Prendergast foundation, Claude Sinclair, said in a Gleaner interview.
“It will inspire the students to do likewise - If my friends can be so honoured, I think I can do the same,” he added.
Ajani, a grade-11 student, said he was honoured to be appreciated, even though his efforts to help his schoolmate did not ultimately save her life. The youngster, who is from Wilton Gardens, or ‘Rema’ - a Kingston community scarred by its history of violence - said he has always tried to be his brother’s keeper.
“I want to be an engineer in the army, so helping is what I like to do from the get-go. Most of the time, KT is a really good school; it is just the children and how they grow … .
“It’s nice to see that KT is not on the news for something bad, but for something good,” he said.
Thirteenth-grader Christina told The Gleaner that she has blocked the traumatic incident from her mind, but accepted the award to honour the memory of her friend and former cadet member.