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Throughout its nearly twelve-decade history, Kingston Technical High School has enriched and transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans. Indeed,it’s the pioneering institution in technical and vocational education in Jamaica. Its purpose, according to experts, was to extend the education given in the ordinary public elementary schools and to provide specialized vocational training (technical and commercial for boys and domestic and commercial for girls).



Under the leadership of its first headmaster, John G. Peet, in 1897, KTHS not only prepared students with the skills necessary for particular trades, it also provided teachers and student teachers instruction in manual training. By the 1900s, KTHS had a part-time program for students from elementary schools and in 1901, begun classes in Continuing Education. Indeed, it is safe to say that Continuing Education was invented at KTHS.
In addition to the current principal, Ernest Donaldson, fourteen men and women served as principals. They are William Goldsworthy, John Harris, Reginald Anderton, Patrick Alston, Alistair Thomson, Leigh A. M. Lloyd, Douglas Crowther, Hugh Atkins, Edmund Roper, Jasper Wray, Daphne Comrie, Sidney Turner and Georgette Palmer. While Mr. Wray was the first alumnus to head the school, Miss Comrie was the first female principal. Mr. Turner and Miss Palmer are also KTHS graduates



KTHS, once known as the Board School (it was under the aegis of the Board of Education), boasted many firsts: it was affiliated with the City and Guilds of London Institute; it was the first technical school in Jamaica, and as such, introduced curricula that represented alternative educational directions to the traditional academic programs of study in the high schools; it provided educational avenues of opportunities not available to many Jamaicans; it was the model by which other technical institutions were formed.



The 1907 earthquake destroyed a major part of the Hanover Street campus. As a result, the boys department was transferred temporarily to Elletson road, site of the police barracks, while the manual training took place at the old Treasury building on Harbour Street. However in 1913, all departments relocated to 82 Hanover Street. At that time, new courses, including structural engineering, machine shop practice, welding, electrical installation, commercial subjects and handicrafts were added to the curriculum. Moreover, those students who majored in commercial subjects could prepare for examinations at the Royal Society of Arts while those who took technical and domestic science courses, prepared for the City and Gilds of London Institute



In the mid-1900s, it was recommended that the institution put more emphasis on science in the technical departments; include more domestic science classes; provide more opportunities to teachers in elementary schools to prepare them for the examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute; and add special classes for the home economics teachers. For five years, from 1925 to 1930, Ronald Goldsworthy served as principal succeeding John Peet. During his tenure, the new principal included courses in tailoring, shoemaking, carpentry and woodwork to World War I veterans. In 1930, Dr. John Harris joined the institution as principal and left his mark on KTHS, including adding Spanish to the curriculum, expanding the evening school, overseeing the construction of new buildings and introducing the House System. The houses are now Atkins, Denham, Goldsworthy, Harris, Peet and Pink.

In the 1950s and beyond saw significant progress, both in academics and in the area of sports at this premier educational institution. Among the later additions to the curriculum were appliance servicing and computer applications. Courses in electronics, mechanical engineering, building technology, welding, auto-mechanics,
business and secretarial sciences, clothing and textiles and food and nutrition were also introduced. KTHS also instituted the London GCE examinations and those for the Associated Examining Board for the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) as the principal examinations for graduating students.



In sports, KTHS athletes, including the Spence twins (Mel and Mal), Les Laing and George Rhoden, and Clifton Forbes not only put their school on the map, they triumphed internationally. Female athletes contributed immensely: Eileen Sutherland and Una Morris in track and field; in softball, Cindy Nicholson, Vivette Peres,Hyacinth Grizzle, and Gloria Hinds. The latter were unbeatable. The cricket team won the Evelyn Cup in 1954 and a year later, the football team won the Facey Cup for non-traditional secondary schools. In the 1960s, coached by Father Roy Campbell, the football team won the Walker Cup. And in 1965, 1967, and 1979 the cricket team took home the Sunlight and All-Island Spalding Cups.

During its one-hundred-and-eighteen year history, KTHS has had no fewer than seven name changes, including the Board School; the Manual Training School;Government Technical and Continuation School; Technical and Commercial School; Government, Technical and Continuation School; and Kingston Technical High School.

*Excerpted from The Kingston Technical High School Story by Dr. A. W. Sangster