THE HISTORY OF KINGSWAY
In the early 1940’s, there was a growing number of Seventh-day Adventist youth. It became obvious that the establishment of a Seventh-day Adventist High School was of paramount importance. Pastor H.S. Walters, the Missionary Volunteer and Education Director of the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day in collaboration with David Walker, W. Powell, E.E. Walters, N.B. Reid, A.R. Haig, C. Kerr and V.E Atkens, President of the East Jamaica Conference, started an intensive campaign to convene a constituency meeting in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, to determine the feasibility of a secondary school as well as its impact to the community.
The constituency meeting, having been convened resulted in Miss Eva Williams and Mr. V.H. Percy being selected to recruit students for the school.
In 1942, a building located at No. 43 South Camp Road, Kingston, which formerly housed a private secondary school (The Ranger Jones High School) was rented. On January 10, 1943, the New Hope Seventh-day Adventist College opened its door with an enrollment of 83 students and a faculty of five. The name New Hope was chosen as it represented a new hope for the youth of the church.
Miss Eva Williams, a graduate of the then West Indies College, now Northern Caribbean University and who had already established the Williams Preparatory School in Vineyard Town, was invited by the conference to join the staff of the new school. She accepted this invitation and brought along some of her students. This small group of students was used to establish a preparatory department and Eva Williams became the first head of that department. Mr. V.H. Percy a graduate of Mico College and who was at the time teaching in Ocho Rios was also asked to join the staff.
Two years after the school was established, two students, Pearl Bell and Myrtle Haffenden sat the Cambridge Examination and were both successful. Elder V. Berry, the first administrator of the school, in an effort to provide moral support to the two students, also resat the Cambridge exam and for the second time was also successful.
The school was subsequently relocated to 32 Lindhurst Road, Kingcton, the location where R.J.R.(Radio Jamaica Redifusion) is now located. With a change of location, the School’s name was changed from New Hope College, to Kingsway High School.
In 1946, 10 Osbourne Road, Kingston was purchased by the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist for 17,000 English Pounds On this property there was a two storied building which formerly housed the Huntsden High School, a private secondary High school.
In 1947 the school was moved from 32 Lyndhurst Road to 10 Osbourne Road and was housed in the two-storied building. In 1954 the decision was taken to build a new school and on October 14, the cornerstones of a new building were laid. Among those who laid stones were the then Acting Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor G.P. McFarlane, Pastors A.C. Stockhousen and H.S. Walters, President of the West Jamaica Conference . Among those present were: Pastor O.E. Gordon, Young People’s Secretary, Mr. V.H. Percy, Principal of Kingsway high School, Pastor A.R. Haig Pastor in charge of Education, Pastor C. Blackburne Secretary of the British West Indies Union, Pastor A.C. Stockhousen, President of the British West Indies Union, and Pastor E.V. Schneider, Home Missionary Secretary of the British West Indies Union.
In 1961 the adjacent premises was acquired and the Preparatory department was built during the administration of Mr. V.H. Percy. A record was set in 1946 when 20 students sat the Cambridge Examination and all were successful. Mr. Percy holds the record of serving the longest as administrator of the school. He retired in 1964 after 21 years of service. Miss Eva Williams served the school as a teacher for 31 years. Her last act was to sponsor a plaque for the preparatory school on which her name is inscribed.
During its 63 years of existence Kingsway has seen many dedicated board chairmen and principals. The Board chairmen were: Pastor F.E. White, Pastor J.G. Bennett, Pastor M.E. Weir (a past student), Pastor J.A. Allen (past student), Pastor P.N. Hosten, Pastor Derek Bignall, Pastor M. Gregory and now Pastor Adrian Cotterell.
The principals from the early 70’s to present were: Pastor S. Campbell, Mr. Eric Pryce, Mrs. Andita White, Pastor Hugh Maynard-Reid, Pastor Lincoln McKenzie, Pastor Derek Bignall, Mr. Fitzroy Davis, Pastor Errol Thomas, Mrs. Lunette Wright (a past student), Miss Vilma Ferguson, Dr. Stevel Beckford, Mrs. Evadne Barrett, Dr. Judith Nembhard (a past student) and currently, Mrs. Claudette Genas.
Kingsway has also seen vast improvement to its physical structure which includes the addition of classrooms, the Instructors staff room, science laboratory, computer room, Administrative Block and library. The uniforms of Kingsway High School have undergone a metamorphosis. The uniforms for the boys have always been khaki shirt adorned with the School’s epaulet or crest. In the early years, the boys in the preparatory and lower schools wore short pants. The uniforms for girls have undergone significant changes. They started with pleated navy blue skirts with white blouse and blue beret. Next, they adapted the navy blue gored skirt with a pinafore and then graduated to a navy blue tunic, white blouse with Jippy Jappa hats. Not to be out done, they upgraded to a full green pleated skirt with a waist band and a green blouse with gold trimming on the collar. Perhaps feeling a bit common they further upgraded to a line tango blue, clear lilac and sandal wood tunic with white blouse. Presently our young ladies bask in a royal blue tunic with white blouse designed by Mrs. Rose Ryan.
In recent years, several additions have been made to the curriculum. Courses added included, Business Studies, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, Technical Drawing, Computer Studies, Social Studies, Art and Craft. Recently, Wood Work was made available to the lower school.
We are also proud of the academic achievements of our students. In the Preparatory school, since the inception of the GSAT Examination most of the students have performed outstandingly. In our high school, the students sitting the GCE/CXC Examinations have done us proud, passing 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 and as many as 13 subjects.
Special mention must be made of Dr. Lloyd Dayes, Dr. and Mrs. Lennox Westney as well as the Kingsway High School Alumni Association - New York Chapter Inc. who have contributed liberally to the upkeep of the school and who have for many years offered scholarships to worthy students. Thanks to the dedicated administrators, teachers, alumni, friends, well-wishers who have given of their services to make Kingsway the success it has been.
Long live Kingsway High School.
Via Regis Optima est. The King’s Way is Best!