Change focus

It is generally felt that students at The Lester Vaughan School are not taking their studies seriously and too many parents seem to be
of like mind.

According to Sonja Goodridge, acting principal of the school, some parents appeared to be more interested in their child’s brand name bag and shoes than in their term reports, which are sometimes left in the office unclaimed.

She said that sadly, some parents were more concerned about a child not bringing home their cellular phone than they were about the absence of a report.

Goodridge made these charges as she delivered the principal’s report at the St Thomas institution’s awards ceremony this morning where she stressed that it was essential that the school implemented a zero tolerance for failure to complete and/or submit homework or other assignments.

On that note, she said the school must continue to find ways to further engage and involve parents in the critical aspect of education and to convince them that homework was important.

“Research has shown that direct parent involvement in and support of a child’s school experiences play an important role in that child’s academic success. Conversely, when parents are not involved, their children receive lower grades, are more likely to drop out, and have poorer homework habits,” she explained.

The principal told the students that it was up to them to change their negative attitudes to some subjects as well as to homework and to reading. She urged them to put pressure on their peers who thought that everything “is a joke” and also encouraged them not to condone those students who caused teachers to waste time in the classroom because of their distractive actions.

“Let them know that they are wasting time too and that you do not appreciate it. It is therefore time to remind all of you that school work should be taken seriously at all times. The message was sent in the last academic year when a record number of fourth year students were asked to repeat the year. Students at every year group take heed. Listen very carefully. Should you not reach the standard we set you will be asked to repeat so that you can master the competencies at one level before proceeding to the next,” she said.

She commended some classes that performed well because they upheld high ideals and suggested that it was time those students not giving their best were seen to be a minority.

“Remember everybody has a talent, find yours and nurture it as you excel. Change your thinking [and] you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

As it relates to the school’s academic performance, the principal reported that internal examination results showed some improvement overall with the best results being recorded in the junior school and decreasing as students progressed through school. As for external results, the overall pass rate of 56.5 per cent at the Caribbean Examination Council Certificates level showed some improvement over the school’s worst ever results recorded in 2012.

In delivering the feature address, Justin Catlin, former student of that school and National Hockey Player, told the students that they can achieve greatness by not measuring themselves against others, understanding that they were in control, letting common sense and intelligence prevail, trusting in God and focusing on personal growth.

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