Whenever the proposed Cornwall College museum opens, the Dr. Tate sterling silver cup, held for nearly six decades by Whitby resident K.V. Donaldson, will be one of the museum’s prized possessions.
Donaldson was awarded the cup as Cornwall’s top inter-house athlete, for four consecutive years in the early 1950s.
“It was gathering dust in my trophy cabinet and I figured the school would be the rightful place for it,” said Donaldson who returned the cup a year ago.
The former Jamaica College deputy headmaster clinched the 800-yard and one-mile events back-to-back in 1951 and 1952 at the interscholastic track and field championships – commonly known as CHAMPS – setting a new mark for the mile in his final year in high school.
“I consider the gift which K.V. – the top athlete at the school during his era – had in his possession for more than 50 years one of the most selfless presentations by an old boy,” Cornwall’s principal, Denham McIntyre, said in the feature address at the Canadian chapter’s 34th annual awards last Saturday night in Scarborough.
McIntyre said the museum is intended to showcase the school’s rich history.
Established in 1896 as the first Jamaica government-launched school, Cornwall is the third oldest high school in Jamaica after Manning’s in Westmoreland and Rusea’s in Hanover and it’s the alma mater of several prominent Jamaicans, including eminent Caribbean scholar and cultural historian Rex Nettleford who died last year, the late Canadian-based ophthalmologist and humanitarian Dr. Garth Taylor and Jamaica’s deputy Prime Minister Dr. Kenneth Baugh.
“In my mind, the school has many things it needs to protect and preserve in order to educate those who are coming into the institution about the rich heritage,” said McIntyre. “The plan is to use the old headmaster’s cottage as the museum that will serve as a learning centre.”
He expects the project will be completed in the next two years.
The principal also thanked other Cornwall graduates and the Canadian alumni chapter for their generous donations over the years.
Dr. David Cooke and his wife award a bursary annually; Edmund Gough and his spouse sponsor a student and Dr. Connie Campbell has been the driving force behind a local group’s sponsorship of the school’s cricket program. In addition, the Canadian chapter recently refurbished the library.
“Your chapter did its due diligence and embraced the project wholeheartedly,” said McIntyre who holds a Masters in Environmental Planning from York University. “Today, the library at Cornwall College is self-sufficient and is no longer an embarrassment to the institution.”
The Canadian chapter has also collaborated with their counterparts in the United States on a plan to provide the school with solar energy. The projected cost is almost Cdn$200,000. The school’s annual energy bill is nearly Cdn$60,000 and the anticipated savings will be used to maintain existing facilities and build new classrooms.
“Our electricity bill is spiraling out of control and we expect the savings to be close to 80 per cent which is huge,” McIntyre said.
The principal also encouraged the Canadian and other alumni chapters to consider financing dormitories for boarding.
“Recent research has confirmed that students who were educated in boarding schools are more prepared for post-secondary study and achieve greater career progress,” he said. “Also, a boarding education is geared towards good academic performance combined with personal development to produce a well-rounded individual with the qualifications and skills sought by universities and employers…The government cannot finance this essential service anymore and the board at Cornwall College and the Ministry of Education are open to talks with you.”
Local chapter president Wendel Clarke presented a $4,000 cheque to McIntyre to be used for scholarships.
“One Grade Eight and a Grade 10 student who are excelling academically and are community-oriented will receive $500 annually until they graduate,” said Clarke.
The organization honoured former president and 1981 University of Guelph graduate Colin Miles and Paul “Nosey” Kerr – an avid supporter – for their significant contributions over the years.