New high schoolers ask God to bless them with success & good friends

After soaking up the sun and great fun at Jewel Resort during the Summer holiday, our GSAT kids have started high school! Having done well in their exams, the children are now enrolled at some of Jamaica’s top high schools. Cara is at Immaculate Conception, Immanuel and Israel Jamaica College and Nia-Ashley at St. Andrew High School for girls.

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From left: Nia-Ashley, Immanuel, Cara and Israel

As they embark on this new phase of life, the high achievers from prep and primary school are asking God to keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’ as they start high school.

Cara – As I embark on a new journey to high school, I would like God to help me to make Christian friends. I would like to have friends who will motivate me, who are focused and hardworking and will assist me in becoming a better Christian. I would like God to help me to be a good Christian friend as well.

Nia-Ashley – As I embark on this new stage of my life, I ask God to provide Christian friends with competent and motivated teachers  to support and guide me in the right direction. I also ask God to help me to maintain academic success and make my family and well-wishers proud.

Israel – I want God to assist me in gaining academic excellence in high school. I am believing God to give me great success in the sport of football.

Immanuel – As I go to high school, I want God to give me success in the area of football and for him to let me be the leading goal scorer on the school football Pepsi team. I also want the Lord to help me not to be ragged!

Family and Faith Magazine has been journeying with these 4 precious children over the last few months and we are pleased that in the end, with all the stress that GSAT brought, they have learned that hard work pays off, and the biblical adage holds true, you reap what you sow.

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St. Andrew High student serves the community with Jamaica Broilers help

The St. Andrew High School for girls has implemented a Community Service component to the school’s curriculum wherein each young lady is required to complete five (5) hours of voluntary community service each school year. We had the privilege of catching up with Miss Jada MacMillan, now entering grade 9 at the school, as she worked with the Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) to prepare back-to-school packages for students in the parish of St. Catherine.

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Jada has completed ten (10) service hours since being enrolled at St. Andrew High, though she has been an active volunteer even before joining the school.

“I have participated in community service with Jamaica Broilers Group since I was a baby (I don’t remember it all but I see the pictures). I have been to Bustamante Hospital, Sunbeam Boys Home and one Heroes Day I remember we went to Curphy Home to treat the Heroes of the war and hear their stories and serve them a Best Dressed Chicken dinner and we had a barber who cut their hair. I remember there was only one female war veteran.”

In her first year at St. Andrew, she volunteered at the Sunbeam Boys Home where she helped to prepare and serve breakfast for the boys. She also participated in their annual Christmas Day treat, though for her this was not unusual, as her family has traditionally visited the home each year on this occasion. In her second year, she worked with the Jamaica Broilers team to make packages for the orphans in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.

For Jada, the school, her family and JBG – where her mother Mrs. Lissa MacMillan is employed – have all contributed to shaping for her a culture of ‘giving back’.

Her most recent project with the Group saw her working alongside Miss Karla Davis, Public Relations and Training Assistant (affectionately known to Jada as Auntie Karla). Jada was charged with the responsibility of counting the items ordered to make sure that all were accounted for and ensuring that enough items were available for each package. Generally packages included a Best Dressed Chicken branded school bag, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, pencil cases, note books and other items depending on the age group of the recipients.

When asked about the experience, Jada replied, “I worked on the project with Auntie Karla. We worked two (2) days until we were finished and I didn’t care about the hours, I was happy knowing that it would make many children happy. It was very exciting and I enjoyed it. I realize that even if you don’t have money or things to give, you can give your time – it is valuable.”

The Company distributed 370 school bags filled with school supplies to residents of the communities within which their major operations are established including Spring Village, McCook’s Pen, Bodles and Freetown.

In closing, Jada remarked, “I think the programme at St. Andrew High wants us to learn to be better citizens and recognize that you have a responsibility to make somebody’s life better. I’m glad Jamaica Broilers is helping me to do this.”

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See RELATED story about St. Andrew Old Girl Kandi-Lee Crooks Smith:  Sweet as ‘Kandi’ – Overachieving Principal of the Year, Wife & Mother, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith Shares How God Orders Her Steps.

Single-sex versus Co-ed Schools?

The new academic year has begun and schools in Jamaica are expected to play a huge role in shaping the development of children and enabling them to achieve their full potential. However, one issue that some parents tend to reflect on is the question of single-sex versus co-educational institutions. To help us to assess the merits of both types of schools, Family and Faith Magazine caught up with veteran respected educator, Esther Tyson.

Family and Faith Magazine: What are some of the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a single sex institution?

Esther Tyson: Research has shown that girls do better at the sciences and math when they are in a single sex school. It appears that when girls are in co-ed schools they expect that the boys will do better at these subjects. Girls attending single sex schools generally are more competitive in that environment. I have seen where the girls attending a single sex school seem to be less prepared to engage with the opposite sex in a platonic way. Relationships with the opposite sex, unless they interact with them in other circumstances, tend to be rife with sexual interpretations and innuendos. Romantic attachments are imagined where there might be none.

In the same way, boys who do not have girls around tend to be rougher on the edges and may not understand how to treat the opposite sex. Boys in single sex schools seem to develop a more macho way of relating to each other in the absence of the girls. So there are academic as well as social advantages and disadvantages for single sex education.

Family and Faith Magazine: Although the answer to our next question was intimated in your first response, please still articulate for our readers the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a co-ed institution?

Esther Tyson: In a co-ed institution boys and girls learn to relate to each other as friends from early. In the 7th grade there is a healthy rivalry that takes place between all students. This changes when at about 9th grade the hormones really kick in and the awareness of the opposite sex in a sexual and romantic way change the dynamics of the relationships. Some girls become more shy and demure because they are trying not to compete with the boys but instead want to give them space to shine. On the other hand, boys may start to antagonize the girl that they like as a backhanded way of showing it.  The dynamics of the interaction certainly change in upper school. Underlying all of this though is a history that these students have with each other and an understanding of each other unlike those who are educated in a single sex school. In a co-ed school a girl can learn that she can do as well at the sciences, math and tech/voc subjects as any boy. This knowledge can boost her self-confidence. Girls and boys in co-ed school develop an understanding that they can have a platonic relationship with the opposite sex without any sexual or romantic attachments.

Family and Faith Magazine: Do you have a preference for either one, as it pertains to preparing a well-rounded actualized individual? Why or why not?

I think that both systems have their benefits. Both my daughters went to a single sex school, whilst my son went to a co-ed school. My girls had other environments apart from school where they interacted with the opposite sex, so the social impact was not felt. Academically, they were able to compete with other girls in all areas and develop their own skills without competing with boys. My son has good friendships with girls that he went to school with which are platonic, this is a healthy outcome of co-ed education.

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com