New J.C. ‘Old Boys’ board plans to maintain ‘high standards’



The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Canada (JCOBACA) has a new president. Edmund Munroe was unanimously elected to the top post of the 25-year-old Canada-wide organization at its 25th Annual General meeting last Saturday.

Munroe, aged 56, a certified general accountant and chartered certified accountant (UK), takes over from Charles Francis, who stepped back after two terms at the helm of the JCOBACA.

Banker Kerith McLeod was elected vice president, while journalist Philip Mascoll was elected secretary. Austin Daley, a certified general accountant and chartered certified accountant (UK), is treasurer.

Other elected members of the JCOBACA board of directors 2011-12 are attorney Louis Robinson, IT specialist Paul MacDonald, banker Sean Rodney and retired school principal Henry Sterling. Four other slots of the board will be filled by co-opted members.

Munroe said after the meeting that he was delighted that his J.C. family had seen fit to choose him as president.

“Having your peers display such confidence in you is truly a great honour,” he said. “We are one of the leading past student associations in Canada and, under my management, we will work hard to keep up the high standard we have set over the past quarter century.

“JCOBACA has contributed much to our alma mater and our beloved Jamaica over the years and this will continue and increase during this administration,” Munroe said.

Jamaica College is 222 years old. It was founded in 1789 as the Drax Free School in the parish of St. Ann by planter Charles Drax.

Drax came to Jamaica from Barbados in 1721 and left the money in his will to establish a charity school in St. Ann. There were some delays and legal proceedings before the money was handed over to the St. Ann Vestry. In 1806, Walton Pen property was bought for the site of the school and, a year later, another act of the Legislature gave the school the name, “The Jamaica Free School”.

In 1879, during the governorship of Sir Anthony Musgrave, provision was made by law for the Jamaica Free School, under a new name, The Jamaica High School, to come under the control of the Jamaica School Commission. The school now had a new headmaster, Reverend (later Archdeacon) William Simms. This law also authorized the removal of the school from Walton Pen in St. Ann in 1883, and classes were conducted in the Barbican Great House until 1885.

The current buildings at Hope were opened on July 9, 1885, and the first classes there took place in September of the same year.

In September, 1890 a college was opened in connection with the school, which was known as University College. In 1902 the Jamaica High School and University College were amalgamated under the name, Jamaica College.

Jamaica College developed as a boarding institution until 1967. It drew most of its students from among the “well-to-do”.

Today, as a day school, it boasts students from a wide cross-section of the community. Over the years it has nurtured a rich tradition in athletic and academic fields. Its Old Boys continue to play important roles in the religious, political, business and professional life of Jamaica and its history continues to be written by its present students who respond to its 222-year-old motto, “Fervet Opus in Campis” – Work is Burning in the Fields.

The Jamaica College Old Boys’ Association of Canada (JCOBACA) was founded in 1986 by 38 past students committed to the institution that had fostered their development during their formative years.

Since those early years, the JCOBACA has grown from a handful to more than 200 members. However, the organization continues to seek new members and invites former students to contact them.

For further details call Edmund Munroe at 416-522-4805 or Philip Mascoll at 416-465-9933

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