Glowell Prep says farewell to grade 6 students

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GRADE six students of Glowell Preparatory were reunited on Wednesday, more than four months after they last sat together in a class before being forced to attend classes online because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The meeting on Wednesday was, however, a bittersweet one, as it was their last time together in the Glowell Prep uniform as they met at the school for their graduation. With masks on and sitting six feet apart, they applauded each other when principal and founder Gloria Jack announced the high schools — mostly traditional ones — they will be attending at the start of the new school year in September.

But, although they were told to maintain their social distance, keep masks on and leave immediately after the ceremony, the grade six students hugged, took photos, and exchanged telephone numbers before saying goodbye and leaving with their parents and guardians. Of course, several tried hard to hold back tears as friends they shared classes with for six years, for those who started in grade one, and even more years for those who started in preschool, were moving on.

Principal Jack described the ceremony as a graduation with a difference, as Jamaicans were operating under a new normal. However, she said it was no use lamenting the impact of the virus since it did not deter nor discourage the students from striving for excellence. She described the graduates as trailblazers, operating in a pandemic not seen in recent memory, and asked that there be continued prayers for them.

The principal thanked parents, whom she described as the lifeblood of the school, and expressed thanks to teachers and other staff members for the unique role they played in the lives of the children.

Guest speaker Peter Downey, a past president of the school’s parent-teacher association and an executive of COK Cooperative Credit Union, encouraged the students to live their purpose, excel in whatever they choose, and to volunteer and teach others instead of judging them.

School board Chairman Rev Valores Medley and grade six teacher Valry Coote also extended best wishes to the 13 boys and 15 girls as they prepare for another chapter of their lives. Ten of the girls were members of the school’s senior dance troupe, copping six gold and one silver medal in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) competition during their time. In fact, their last set of medals were won the day before schools were ordered closed after the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in March.

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