Principal sets up benevolent fund
Principal of the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School Jeff Broomes is putting his money where his mouth is.
While presenting his annual report at the school’s Speech Day and Prize Giving Ceremony yesterday, Broomes announced the launch of the annual $5,000 Jeff Broomes Parkinson Student Support Fund, beginning next year.
“My life has always been guided by the ‘weakest link principle’ and believe that when we help those most in need we strengthen the entire body, be it school or country,” said the principal, who was tranasferred to the sub-urban school last year.
Broomes, who was prevoiusly the principal of the Alexandra School in St Peter, said he was also willing work with the guidance counsellor, the school’s administration and supportive friends, parents and old scholars to host different events to augment the dollar value of this fund.
“I remember my first term at university in New York where when the cold weather came in I had no bed spread, no comforter and only a half of a blanket after my mother had cut off the edges. This forced me at times to choose between covering my shoulders or my toes. I was one of the weakest links and to this day believe that the blanket I got for that Christmas is one of the most impactful gifts I have ever received.”
The veteran educator, who has hinting at retirement today expressed his love for both the profession and his students, while adding that he was prepared to share what little he had “to ensure that they [students] avoided being forced into having to make such choices”.
“This is my leadership style; it is ethics-based and it defines who and what I am,” said Broomes, who has faqced problems with teachers at both Alexandra and Parkinson over his leadership style.
He also announced that Parkinson has institutionalised a breakfast programme with the clear position that “no one should be expected to study while hungry”.
“We appreciate the hardships of families that have suffered as a result of the many layoffs in the public sector. We sought the help of the students, staff and supportive partners to prepare and disbuse monthly hampers so such families could keep their heads high.
“We look after our children and their families, that is the Parkinson message,” he said.
Taking a look at the school’s academic performance for 2013-2014, Broomes noted that the school’s overall CXC pass rate of stood at 52.9 per cent.
The outspoken principal argued that this rate was consistent with the 53.9 per cent of the previous year and continued to stay above the 44 per cent that defined the two years preceding his arrival.
Contending that every student will not be good in English, Maths and History, Broome acknowledged that the school has established a programme where every student leaving Parkinson would have been exposed to a two-year programme in carpentry, plumbing, food preparation, cake icing agricultural production, sound production or cosmetology.
“Somewhere someone will find an alternative career as a result and that is our duty to have them so prepared,” he said.