Haile High's Director of Curriculum, Crystal Reid ("Cleo" to us), took on the job of guiding our young students when she was only 14 years old. In the 5 years she has held that position, she was able to graduate at the top of her class at the prestigious Mt Alvernia school in Montego Bay. Now, this beautiful young woman is beginning her 2nd year of studies at Montego Bay Junior College: Not bad for a poor orphan from a squatters' village that is not even on the map! Because of her perseverance, and a like passion for education, It is fitting that Cleo, takes on the not-too-easy task of teaching our students the baffling jungle of proper English...without losing a bit of her skill and respect for the native culture of “Jamaican patwah.” Haile High is proud to announce that Crystal Reid is named Director of The Dorothea Simmons School of English at the Cottontree in Mobay. Watch us grow Dorothea. We know you are watching.

Each One, Teach One

In each class, students will be told a short story in English. They will then write their version of it in patois and type it on the computer. Next, with the guidance of their teacher, each student will reconstruct their own words according to the rules of English and type this version into the computer. Finally, each student will share their patois and English versions of the story with the rest of the class.

The purpose of writing their own patois version allows each student to develop an understanding of English based on their own translation from the language they use at home. With this background, they will better understand English as they go on to higher education or into the job market.

Haile High is initiating this program in response to the recognition of the needs of its students. Recently this need has also been expressed in Commentaries in the Jamaican Gleaner. Former Member of Parliament, Heather Robinson, states in the Gleaner on October 29, 2004, Each one, teach one; “Last week, I spoke with one of my primary school friends who told me the experience of our schoolmate who teaches Grade 7 in a rural high school. This teacher of many years was very distressed with some of her students who could not read ‘This is a boy’ and ‘This is a girl.’”
Robinson goes on to suggest a national program of “Each one, teach one”. She recommends that “Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) needs to initiate a programme that utilises workers to teach one child to read at the Grade 4 level each year.”

The debate about the quality of CXC test score results (Gleaner Nov. 14, 2004, Ghastly Grades – CXC results worse than reported, and Gleaner Nov. 15, 2004, Quality education data needed), pales in comparison to the problems these children will have as adults without the ability to communicate in English. Few will be able to compete in the Jamaican job market without the ability to read, write and speak proper English.

The "one" can be a computer

At Haile High, in addition to our new English Composition class, we have computer programs in English, science, and math at all grade levels to supplement the instruction students receive at their regular schools. Encore Elementary Advantage 2005 includes: Spelling, Reading, Writing, Basic Math, Fractions, Critical thinking, Social Studies, Earth Science, Beginning Typing and Foreign Languages. At the Middle School level the programs include: Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading, Science, Typing, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry and Foreign Languages. The High School Advantage program includes: Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Foreign Languages, Composition and World History.

Working with a computer encourages students to put their thoughts down in English. All students at Haile High begin learning computers by writing a letter in a simple word processing program such as Notepad. Using the computer in the English class gives each students additional experience in operating word processing technology. Advanced word processing programs indicate errors in grammar as well as spelling errors. With the computer as a guide students have fun while improving their English composition and computer skills.
With the new English Composition class and the computer learning programs, the initial experience of writing a letter on the computer will guide Curriculum Director, Cleo Reid, in her evaluation of each student’s English proficiency. She can then recommend a starting point for each student with the English aspect of the computer programs and place students together so each one can teach one.

Why Dorothea Hughes Simmons?

Haile High has named its new program in memory of Dorothea Hughes Simmons. Though born in America, Mrs. Simmons spent much of her adult life in Jamaica. She was a Quaker and was well known for her work in social services. Education was of great interest to her and she served on the Board of Governors of Happy Grove School for over twenty years.

Dorothea Hughes Simmons came to Jamaica in 1929. The 25 years she spent here, and what she accomplished in that time, will never be eclipsed by others whose names have resounded far and loud. Her history is best told through the following letter sent to the editor of the Daily Gleaner in 1978. Her love and brilliance sparked the inspiration of Haile High to name our school of English after her, and to employ the principles of learning she pioneered so quietly and so effectively.

Tribute to Dorothea Hughes Simmons by Helen Abrikian

The Daily Gleaner December 13, 1978

Who says seeds aren’t sown? A few years ago a young Jamaican sat in my living room and said, “I can’t believe that nothing good happened in Jamaica before 1938.” He enlarged upon this, referring to the possibility that seeds of service and vision must have been sown before 1938 of which people today do not know.

This brief incident came to my mind when I read recently the history of the Social Welfare Development Commission and of the exciting development of the wool co-operative at Walker’s Wood, St. Ann. Almost immediately I thought of Dorothea Hughes Simmons who lived in Walker’s Wood from 1929 to 1954. I have in my possession two woolen blankets. The wool was from Jamaican sheep, spun by the members of the wool co-operative she sponsored in the 40’s in Walker’s Wood, and woven at Friends College, Highgate, St. Mary. Who dares say seeds aren’t sown?

Dorothea Simmons was the only daughter of rich Americans – rich not only in wealth, but rich in vision, in practical ideas, and in generosity. Two of the many gifts given by her family were the meteorological Blue Hills Observatory in Milton, Massachusetts to the city of Boston, and an Art Museum to Harvard University.

One of Mrs. Simmons many gifts was a hospital to Poland after World War I, a hospital which she supported

for five years and which has been stated in the annals of the American Red Cross as being the best example, at the time, of American standards of nursing. Another was Friends Collegeat Highgate, St. Mary of which many Jamaicans living today have never heard.

Many of the students as well as persons who visited the college believe, even now, that it was financed by Friends (Quakers). Not so. Mrs. Simmons was completely responsible for it financially, but, in great humility, she did not want credit or recognition for this. Hence the name, Friends College. She it was who sent Gertrude Morris, its first principal, to study Social Case Work.

She it was who paid for the Public Health Training of the first nurse who gave a course in this subject in the Caribbean. Willy Gertig, a refugee from Nazism, a skilled craftsman, developed a variety of crafts to a high degree.

Aware of the importance of early childhood, the first nursery school for children of low-income families was established, and used as the demonstration center for the course in Child Study and Psychology, taught by the writer of this article.

Mrs. Simmons assumed responsibility for staff, land, buildings, students, and in some cases dependents of students. She even provided a car for the work of the college, which staff could use for

their own private purposes, only paying for the gas.

The student enrollment was not large. They came from as far afield as Guyana (the British Guyana) and Belize (then British Honduras). Among its first Jamaican students were Florette Case, whose work was recently recognized at Porus, and Haggith Moore McCalla, early workers with Jamaica Welfare.

Visitors to the college were many. To name a few, Norman Manley, Dora Hibetson, Philip Sherlock, Edith Clark and Frank Lauback, who planned his “each one, teach one” literary project there. Alex Frazer, who along with Aggrey founded Achimota College in what was at that time the Gold Coast, was its second principal.

The greatness of Mrs. Simmons was that she was willing for her seeds to sprout, and be reaped by someone else. Consequently when the Jamaican government established Public Health work throughout the island and also social services she transferred her pioneering work to another field – her seeds had sprouted. She was far ahead of her time.

To this day Jamaica is greatly indebted to this lady, who never sought praise or recognition. All she wanted was the alleviation of some of Jamaica’s besetting problems – poverty, ill-health, delinquency, ignorance.

A Tribute to a Great Woman

From the Gleaner at the time of Mrs. Simmons’ death

Quakerism suffered a heavy blow on November 27 when American-
born Dorothea Hughes Simmons, 61, died suddenly at her home, Castle Daly, Walkerswood in the hills of St. Ann, where she had elected to live as a Britisher in her adopted Jamaica.

Well known in both hemispheres for her Christian services and her philanthropies, she had in early youth served as a nurse in spite of the comfortable surroundings and ample means of her family in Boston. She gave generously of her mind, her spirit, her physical resources as well as of her time and money for the demonstration of Quaker thinking in at least three areas.

Mrs. Simmons was largely responsible through the Friends Service Council of London for the support of an educational effort in Greece.

She conceived the idea of a great vocational and Rural Educational Center in Jamaica, out of which grow the Friends Educational Council (Ltd.) of Highgate, Jamaica. Friends College, Glenleigh Labora-tory, the Rural Habilitation Center, and the Friends Craft Industries, the Knitting and Wool Co-operative at Walkerswood and a successful Land Settlement programme at Friends-town are some of the outgrowths of her vision and vitality.

At the time of her passing, she was with characteristic vigour exploring the idea of “Queensland” – a scheme to help industrious but landless farming families by persuading the owners of idle land to give it to the Queen who would give it to “small settlers” for cultivation.

She served on the Board of Governors of Happy Grove School

for more than two decades and gave unsparingly of her time, energy and resources, especially when the school was struggling for survival during the years following World War I and the series of subsequent world-wide depressions. She was chairman of the Board for nearly ten years.

In the Jamaica Yearly Meeting of Friends she served on several committees and in spite of her many other activities helped in the founding of the Friends Service Council ( Jamaica), a Quaker service group of island-wide reputation and significance.

The start of the Friends Center in Kingston, through the three-way co-operation of English Friends and the American Friends Service Committee and The American Friends Board of Missions, was largely due to her devotion and energy.

From another tribute by a childhood friend, Rose T Briggs:

Hers was a vivid and vital personality, coupled with an enormous sincerity and earnestness. Yet she never lost the whimsical sense of humor which was so characteristic of her. She would look at one with her head cocked quizzically on one side, her nose wrinkled ever so slightly and her brown eyes full of mischief and amusement. Then would come forth a remark or comment such as no one but she could possibly think of: - sometimes exasperating, often very shrewd, but always original.

She brought zest and tenacity to the many forms of public service which she undertook as she grew older. Her inheritance and early training taught her to look on some sort of work for the good of others as an obvious and natural duty. Her own nature made it one of the absorbing and exciting interests in her life.

She had many projects – I don’t think ANY of us knew about all of them! I have seen her at work on some of the things that interested her in Jamaica, after she married and settled there, and the love and respect of the people towards her. Among other things, she was interested in education, and was on the boards of several schools. She was interested in land development for small holders. She was interested in cottage industries.

The winter I stayed with her and David at Sombra there was gas rationing, and when the car was not available we sometimes started off before dawn and caught the local bus, along with all the market women and their hens, eggs, and other produce, so that Dorothea might visit Highgate, Rose End or Kingston to look after her various projects. She was a veritable patron saint to the loving people in the Island and they looked to her to solve all their troubles. Her memory will live long among them, and it is not too much to think that her name will become a legend.

As a school girl she thrilled to stories of chivalry and adventure… “To ride abroad redressing human wrongs”… seemed to her the most exciting and desirable life that could be imagines. She never lost that taste, but translated it into a life-long knight-errantry of philanthropy and friendship.


Haile High would like to hear from anyone who was a student of, or an acquaintance of Mrs. Simmons.

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