FAQs About Westwood High School for Girls | Boarding School in Jamaica
RESPONSE: by Sheree-Anita Shearer
The Westwood High School for Girls has been synonymous with excellence for 139 years. This school has consistently been in the top 10 Schools in Jamaica averaging between 93-97% across all subjects in Caribbean Examinations Council(CXC) exams over the years.
The ladies of Westwood have also entered various competitions for high schools across the island including, TVJ’s School’s Challenge Quiz where they placed second in 2017, losing only to the then defending champions, Munro College in the finals.
The school has entered TVJ’s All Together Sing multiple times over the years though they have yet to win this competition. The school’s accolades span the Arts, Sciences and Mathematics and it’s known for its strong disciplinary practices and prides itself on turning the girls who enter the school into ladies by the time they leave.
Which Parish is Westwood High Located in?
Founded in 1882 in Stewart Town, Trelawny by Reverend William Menzie Webb and his wife Georgina Louise Webb, The Westwood High School was borne out of a previously failed attempt to provide unsegregated education for young girls in Jamaica at that time. In 1876, the Polly Knibb School (opened by descendants of William Knibb) enrolled two black students and this was met with outrage from the parents of the white students. The Knibbs who operated the school in Falmouth, Trelawny refused to dismiss the students and this ultimately lead to the breaking up of their well-established school in 1881.
Later that same year, Reverend W.M. Knibb and his wife Georgina were able to secure funding for a new school along with Reverend Henderson, another Baptist Minister residing at Brown’s Town in the Parish of St. Ann. Together they converted a house into a school in the Manchester Pen community near Stewart Town. The Manchester Girls’ School was opened with one teacher in the person of Miss Annie Fray its first six students. This is a far cry from the 2,800 students now enrolled at the School.
The School’s name was changed to Trelawny Girl’s School a year later as it would be confused for being located in the parish of Manchester. As the school expanded and its students began coming in from all over Jamaica, its name was changed one final time to the Westwood High School for Girls and was relocated from Manchester Pen to Stewart Town in 1891 where the school still stands. To ensure that all girls, regardless of race or creed were afforded the same education, a board of trustees was established in 1891 representing the then four largest denominations; Baptist, Anglican, Wesleyan and Presbyterian.
What is the uniform of Westwood?
Westwood High School Students can be identified by their very distinct uniform of blue tunic, white blouse and most notably a brown ‘Jippa-Jappa’ hat. This straw hat is encircled with a navy blue ribbon to match the colour of the students' tunic. The hat brings out a style in a tunic which is a common design and may not have otherwise been noticed. Originally there was also a white dress included as part of the uniform for church on Sundays but this has in recent years been discontinued.
Is Westwood a private school?
Westwood is not a private school, the requirement for acceptance is a pass in the PEP exams done in grade six. The academic staff is paid by the Ministry of Education.
How much Does Westwood Cost?
At the time of this article, the tuition at Westwood High is JMD 75,000 (USD 480) per semester. Since this is one of the five boarding schools remaining in Jamaica, the fees include meals and rooms, electricity and water. Day students are also accommodated however the cost is usually lower than for boarders.
There are also Miscellaneous fees each term but those are minimal. These include Parent Teachers Association(PTA) contributions and others which goes towards transportation, student council insurance and medical costs. These costs are usually outlined at the beginning of the school year. There are three semesters in a school year.
Notable Women who went to Westwood
Amy Ashwood Garvey, Pan-Africanist activist and the first wife of our National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was a student of the school. Iris Collins, the first woman elected to the House of Representatives, also attended the school.
Also was Gwendolyn Spencer, nurse and midwife who co-founded the Jamaican Midwives' Association, who went to the school in the 1930s. There have also been ladies of the Westwood High School who have entered the Jamaica Festival Queen competition namely, for example, one Naresha Jackson who was the first runner up in 2017.
The alumni of the Westwood High School formed their past students’ association in the 1920s, the Westwood Old Girls Association(WOGA) and they in partnership with the members of the Calabar Old Boys Association (COBA) host many events to raise funds for both institutions. One such case was in May 2017, when Westwood's kitchen and storeroom were destroyed by a fire.
Westwood High School for Girls’ Contact Information:
Stewart Town P.O.
Phone Number: (876) 954-8440
Phone Number: (876) 612-0307
Email: Not Available
Current Principal: Karen Francis
The Westwood High School for Girls is also available on the Google Play Store(for Android) and the App Store(iPhones)
I hope this gives you some insight into the Westwood High School for Girls.
I also recommend you read Ranking Of High Schools In Jamaica - Jamaica's Top Secondary Schools
- “The Jappa Times”, The WOGA Association, https://thewoga.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/JappaTimesIssue4.pdf
- “The Georgian Society of Jamaica”, Georgian Jamaica, http://www.georgianjamaica.org/blog/westwood-high-school-in-stewart-town-trelawny
- “Miss Knibb's School, Falmouth”, Jamaica History, https://jamaica-history.weebly.com/miss-knibbs-school-falmouth.html
- "Westwood High School, Jamaica", Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westwood_High_School,_Jamaica
- "Major fire devastates Westwood High School - Kitchen, dining room and storeroom gutted", The Gleaner Jamaica,https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170504/major-fire-devastates-westwood-high-school-kitchen-dining-room-and-storeroom
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