The River Sallee Government School celebrated 75 years during a ceremony at the institution on 17 January 2024. The theme for the celebration is “Transforming Lives and Communities: “75 Years of Impact and Service.”
The River Sallee Government School was built in 1948 and opened its doors on 17 January 1949, with 298 students on roll and Joseph Campbell as headteacher. The school was then named the River Sallee School and had a practical centre. In 1954, the school was renamed River Sallee Government School. Throughout its years, the school has been led by 9 principals — 7 males and 2 females — and numerous teachers.
Education Minister Sen. the Hon. David Andrew, Parliamentary Representative for St Patrick East Hon. Dennis Cornwall and Chief Education Officer Dominic Jeremiah were present to celebrate with the students, staff, and parents of the River Sallee Government School at the ceremony. “I am delighted to be here this morning to share this occasion with the River Sallee Government School. It’s a school that is dear to my heart,” Hon. Andrew said. “You have been in the business of education for much longer than our nation has been an independent nation, here at River Sallee Government, and that’s something worthy of celebrating. That’s significant. Your theme says, “Transforming Lives and Communities: 75 Years of Impact and Service” and through education, over the years, I’m sure you have allowed several students to journey to parts of the world — far and wide, in both a real and a literal sense.”
CEO Jeremiah, an educator with 40 years of experience, also shared his congratulations. He noted that the Presentation Brothers College, a school he led for 22 years, recently celebrated its 75th anniversary as well. Jeremiah emphasised the importance of being appreciative to those who help to develop learning institutions and gave a special charge to the current school community, including parents. He said, “I want to charge you with the responsibility of continuing to build on the legacy that has been left here at this school for 75 years.”
During the ceremony, past and present teachers, students, community members and corporate sponsors were awarded, along with others who contributed to the growth and success of the institution.
Emerald Gordon was awarded for being the longest-serving current teacher, while Madonna Wildman was recognised as the most senior retired teacher. Joyce Alexander is also one of the longest-serving, having taught at the River Sallee Government School for 38 years from 1969 to 2007. Additionally, Hon. Dennis Cornwall, a past student and teacher at the school, was recognised during the ceremony.
Author and past student of the River Sallee Government School Supt. Loxley John delivered the keynote speech. He made special mention of the strong impact teachers make on students’ lives and highlighted one of his past teachers, Joyce Alexander. “I mean, she has impacted my life more than she knows and, whenever I see her, there is something that just wells up inside of me, and I think the bond that was created during those years has remained,” John said. “I pause to recognise the invaluable contributions made by the faithful ones who have gone before us over these 75 years and to offer thanks for the influence and the impact that they’ve had on the lives of the community.
School records indicate that students have consistently performed exceptionally well in the Common Entrance Exam, followed by the CPEA, earning several positions in the top 200. During the revolutionary era, the school was a Centre for Popular Education (CPE). In sports, the River Sallee Government School has earned top places at the national primary school games in both individual and team events, even representing their country at the regional level.
Vice Principal Kelson Baptiste, spoke of the school’s achievements. “For 75 years our institution has been a nurturing ground for dreams, a fortress for knowledge and a crucible of character. Our legacy is woven into the fabric of the community, with each graduate contributing to rich tapestry of our shaped rich history,” Baptiste said. “The 75th anniversary is not just a milestone. It is a testament to our resilience, to our adaptability and unwavering commitment to excellence. It is an opportunity to renew our dedication to fostering an environment where curiosity, creativity, and compassion flourish.”
The River Sallee Government School is also well known for its strong cultural influence, under the guidance of Crofton Mc Guire, a teacher at the school, validating the school motto “Culture through Activity.”
Ministry of Education