One of the reasons Haile High is so effective in teaching it's youth, is owed to its swimming program. At 9am every Saturday we meet at Dr's Cave Beach Club to begin our learning-day with swimming lessons. When Queen Sam is in town we even get to learn rudimentary water ballet…Sam’s specialty.
Vaneka arrives at Dr's Cave Beach with her older sister, Aneika, for her first swimming lesson. After this class she will go up the hill to the Cottontree for lunch and her first computer lesson.
This year Haile High was able to place Opel Kentish, the school’s Administrator, as a member of the Drs. Cave Swimming Club. Cleo and Kimone were also added as members. Other students who show-up for the fun are paid for from the meager assets of Haile High. The concept of participating in a fun event before computer classes pays dividends not offered by other schools. It makes us one big happy family.
Before entering the Caribbean for the first time, Vaneka decides to practice her strokes in the Iree sands of “The Cave”.
Haile High swimmers finish their saturday outing by feeding the Miriad array of tropical fish that inhabit the reef of Dr's Cave.
At 11:30 our students head for the showers, soon to emerge “kris” and eager for the van ride up the hill for lunch and studies.
Herded off to an area away from the kitchen, the students are given a review of the prior weeks’ lessons. This gives Kim and Monique time to make the sandwiches, pour the orange juice and cut-up the fruit for lunch.
Kim and Monique fixing lunch for their charges
Washington and Sam join the girls for a snack break at mid-afternoon.
After lunch, the classes begin in earnest with everyone assigned to an available laptop or other teaching-aid.
Kaliflowa, founder of Haile High, stands before the stairs leading to the Menelik Computer Lab. He says "It's only 7 steps, but it's a mountain top when they see the view."
CLEOPATRA , The Queen of Make-do
Crystal (or "Cleo" as she likes to be called) was 13 when she took on the role of Director Of Curriculum at Haile High. Some said that was foolhardy..."what could a kid know about directing a Tech School?" Well, first-off...Cleo's no "kid". Her Dad died when she was five and her Mother succumbed to leukemia last year. Undauntedly, she has maintained her high averages at Mount Alvernia Girls School in Montego Bay, and is a regular teacher at Haile High.
When Kali decided to digitally reproduce a picture of a keyboard as a teaching aid, Cleo did him one better and had all the letters removed from the pic in Photoshop. Thus, she was able to come up with a perfect device to use as a teaching and testing tool.
Here amidst her students, Cleo explains the various functions of the keyboard. Somehow Haile High ended-up with a deficit of computers, but an abundance of keyboards, which she turned-around into teaching aids. Only a small percentage of computer users ever learn all the functions of the keyboard...the primary interface between the operator and the computer. Cleo makes sure her students are much better than average.
Vaneka, Haile High's youngest (7 yrs.) computer student, is learning to read and write. Her studies at Flankers School are augmented by the many programs available at Haile High. Vaneka never misses a chance to smile at the camera.
"A new teacher is born." "UNIQUE" MONIQUE lectures on diseases common to third world populations. Monique is a student at the W.K.M. High School in Flankers. Whenever an advanced student in one of Jamaica's schools gets a serious homework assignment, we encourage her to teach the subject to our younger students. In the process, student/teachers like Monique get better marks there, and passes on what she has learned to us here at Haile High. As a reward for her effort, we pay her transportation expenses to and from Haile High. Travel in Jamaica is by cab...and very expensive.
The large red #2 above Monique's head indicates that she is teaching in Area 2 of the school. The color red lets the administrators know if a student has strayed into the wrong area. We "color code" our students with wrist bands between each of our 20 minute teaching segments. This allows for a circulation of students from one subject to another without confusion. It sounds confusing to explain, but it works quite well. We have very little space and every nook is a classroom...and the student population is growing exponentially. The only tuition at Haile High is enthusiasm. So far no student has ever failed that requirement.
RAS PUTAH explains how he has just installed the network linking Haile High's computers. He had worked long hours getting it ready for Saturday's class and it's advent has become a great asset to teachers and students.
Because of his good work, all files can be shared as well as instant access to Haile High's peripheral devices, like printers, scanners and all manner of devices that we may employ in the future.
In the lecture area (a stair case) KEFENTSEH WASHINGTON teaches Spanish with an emphasis on computer terms. The kids love it. On Kali’s birthday, “Wash” clandestinely taught them to sing Happy Birthday. They sang it to him in perfect Spanish, much to his delight.
Tony with Wash and his son Ryan, join the fun during a music lesson. The Joe Higgs School of Music is not your average music school. Everyone here is a star.
Haile High promotes self-discipline through drumming. The Nyabinghi drums pictured here replicate the heart beat. When anyone feels out of balance, she can spend a little time on the porch playing one of the trio of drums. Apple, Kimone & Cleo take a break from the computer to drum the heartbeat.
|School's out. Time to catch a ride and head back-a-yard.|