St Joseph’s Infant moulding young minds for 125 years

November 18, 2019
St Joseph’s Infant School
St Joseph’s Infant School
Principal Rosemarie Clarke displaying books created by students under the ‘Little Authors’ programme.
Principal Rosemarie Clarke displaying books created by students under the ‘Little Authors’ programme.
Some trophies accumulated by St Joseph’s Infant School over the years.
Some trophies accumulated by St Joseph’s Infant School over the years.
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St Joseph's Infant School on Duke Street, Kingston, is celebrating 125 years since opening its doors under the guidance of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.

The theme guiding this year's celebration is 'Excellence Defines Who We Are'.

Rosemarie Clarke, the school's 10th principal, told THE STAR that the school has been a home for many students from inner-city communities - something she is proud of.

"We work with the parents ... . If you don't understand parenting, we help you. Our students come to us as empty vessels, some of them tarnished, but they leave us at their highest point. The students are mainly from the inner city," she said.

Clarke, who has been principal for 17 years, credits the school's longevity to its various ever-present support systems.

"The St Joseph's Infant School is a symbol of age, grace, strength, and the determination of all stakeholders to improve the lives of the children of the communities we serve. Our success is because we have always had a committed staff, board of management, parent-teacher association, and community working together with eyes fixed on achieving our goal through prayer, determination, and confidence," she said.

The school is now a two-storey building housing 10 classrooms, a library, a studio, a kitchen, and offices. But according to Clarke, this is a stark difference from earlier years.

"Our school has grown from one large, airy room, a slate, and a piece of chalk. The curriculum then included teaching of scripture, geography, history, nature, reading, writing, arithmetic, speech training, dramatics, and sewing. The holistic curriculum offered now includes much of the same with the additional areas of the use of digital technology," she said.

Clarke told THE STAR that St Joseph's has stamped its mark on numerous lives, evidenced in areas such as academics, the arts, and sciences, with records from the 1900s as proof of success.

"Our school has grown and evolved with the times. We have adapted to the needs of an increasingly diverse set of students and to the demands of teaching in a 21st century learning environment," she said.

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