REPORT ON THE KNOX 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AND REUNION

The recent Knox 50th Anniversary Celebration was a huge success! Knoxonians from around the world gathered in Jamaica to renew old acquaintances, make new friends and observe the changes brought by the passing years. The Jamaica Grande provided the ideal surroundings for the event. Beautiful grounds, all-inclusive atmosphere, good food and drink and a friendly, helpful staff. We could not have asked for more.

The majority of the crowd arrived on Wednesday, July 2nd. Meeting in the lobby of the hotel that evening, we were "tagged" and rekindled friendships that have lasted through the many years since "Knox Days".

Several people drove up to Knox on the following day in the comfortable new Knox Community College Buses. Certainly a far cry from the Kamikaze Mini Buses that used to take us home for vacations!

Mrs. Swaby invited us to visit the Junior School for cold drinks and a tour upon our arrival at Knox. Mrs. Swaby has done an impressive job with the Junior School. Funds have been quite limited as the school is supported solely by fees collected from the students, but she has made the classrooms look bright and cheery with her available resources. The walls are covered with student's drawings, problem solving tips and maps of the world. In addition to other problems, the walls could use some paint, the desks and chairs are old and they could always use new books for their recently opened "Jean Davidson Library". Hopefully we will be able to rectify these problems with some help from the past students in the near future.

Our next stop was at the Knox Community College, which is under the capable management of Mrs. Stills. She has been instrumental in starting other Community Colleges throughout Jamaica. The KCC alone has an enrollment of 1500 students. Among the courses offered are computer studies, Business Administration, Office Technology, Secretarial Science, Health Science, Appliance Service Repair and Tourism and Hospitality.

Some of us continued our tour, passing by the farm, which is now only populated by the stray dog or cat. We walked past Grant Hostel (which desperately needs to be painted) and on to lunch at the cafeteria. We met the High School Principal, Dr Coen, who welcomed us to Knox. After lunch, everyone wandered about the school grounds and finally gathered in the Religion Center to meet with the three principals to discuss our impressions of Knox today. We also had the opportunity to hear from two high school students who had just graduated in the top of their class as to what Knox has meant to them.

At about 6:00pm, we all climbed into the buses and cars and headed back to the hotel. It was a long, but interesting day. Uplifting for some, it was sad for many others as things were not as we remembered and the passing years have not been entirely kind to our Alma Mater. We have to remember that with time comes change, and all we can do as past students with a love of Knox is to accept the major changes that have taken place and try to do as much as we can to help the schools be the best that they can be.

Friday, July 4th, was Sportsday at Kaiser Playfield. This turned out to be a great location for the event. We had a large field on which to compete, music playing, a mike to announce the races, shelter for those who wanted to stay cool and cold drinks and hot food for sale. Odette Rose and Floyd did a fantastic job of organizing this wonderful event. This was a highly competitive event and everyone got into the spirit, just like the good old days! We all purchased T- Shirts in our house colors, and wore them proudly. We ran the 50yd dash, relays, played soccer, had balloon blowing contests and had a mixed team netball match. Great fun was had by all! The payment in sore muscles and ankles would not come due until the next day. The over all winners were Grant House followed by Forbes Dennis, Webster and Murray.

Some party animals stayed up until the wee hours of the morning at local hot spots in Ochie. We won't release any names but the photo negatives can be purchased at a later date!

The meeting and Banquet at the Jamaica Grande were held on Saturday.

The meeting started at 11:00am in the Portland Ballroom and the newly written constitution of the Knox Past Students Association in Jamaica was reviewed and discussed. The discussion included specific wording of the constitution and the effects it would have upon the International Chapters. The International Chapters gave progress reports, and Committee members were elected.

The Reunion Banquet began at 9:00pm and more than 250 people arrived to enjoy the event. We were served a lovely meal of jerk chicken, pork and beef followed by fruitcake. Dunbar Mcfarlane was the Master of Ceremonies. Speakers for the evening included Mrs. Stills, Mr. Leo Jones, Blossom Saunders and a past student from Haiti who wrote a wonderful poem about his days at Knox. An award of appreciation was presented to Mr. Bent. At 12:30 am the Bare Essentials began the musical entertainment. People were still dancing when the DJ took over at 3:30 and played oldies until 5:30 am. Those who stayed up dancing said that they had a great time!

We were pleased with the turnout and it was wonderful to see the joy and excitement in the eyes of those seeing an old friend again for the first time in 20, 30 or even 40 years. That camaraderie is what the reunion was all about.

For those who attended, I am pleased that you were able to join us for this wonderful celebration. For those who were unable to attend, we will probably plan another one of these reunions within the next 5 or 10 years, so you will have another chance to join in the fun.

For more information on the celebration and to see the articles published about the celebration in the North American edition of the Jamaica Weekly Gleaner, please visit Patricia Boothe's home page at: KNOX COLLEGE CELEBRATES 50TH

 

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Phillip Slosberg.
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