Today I was talking to a Jamaican friend who never went to high school in Jamaica. Another Jamaican friend was passing by and we started talking about our high school alumni events. When my other friend left she mentioned that she felt she missed out on going to high school in Jamaica. She attended high school in the US. She mentioned that most Jamaicans who attended high school in Jamaica talk about it like a US college fraternities. I never thought about it that way. She was right. When a Jamaican asks me which school I attended I am not thinking about college. I automatically know they are speaking about high school. I proudly respond Jamaica College. The more I reflect the more I see how sacred we hold high school in Jamaica. I was very involved in my high school alumni chapter here in South Florida. I was the president of the JCOBAFL chapter for 2 years. The passion the other board members have for the school was evident at many of the meetings. How do we get our school back to the glory years was a constant topic. The rivalries are also still intact. I remember mentioned another high school’s way of doing things at a board meeting. I almost got my head chopped off by another board member who still had memories of a rivalry with that school in 1970’s. Even between the chapters here in South Florida there are still rivalries. Currently JC and St. Georges play a Soccer match each year in memory of Dennis Zaidie who coached both schools. The matches are well attended and the stories of the rivalry in the 1980’s are evident in discussion around the field. I still have friends travel from the US to Jamaica to attend Boys Champs and Manning cup.
Many of my close friends are from high school in Jamaica. They still call me by my high school nick name. It is funny how you never remember some of your classmates’ real name but their pet name is unforgettable. I was an average student in Jamaica however I don’t think I would have been prepared for college in the US if I did not have to study for my CXC’s. Many of my best and most vivid memories are from high school in Jamaica.
In the US students “find who they are” in college. We do that in high school in Jamaica.