St. Mary’s Secondary Celebrates Year of Literacy

The kids asked me to read their favourite section of The Boy from Willow Bend, and then my favourite section.

We’re always happy here at Wadadli Pen to promote progressive steps to improve literacy and the literary arts, especially among our youth. Come with me then to St. Mary’s Secondary (formerly St. Mary’s Centre for Excellence, a junior secondary school). I (your friendly in-house blogger, Joanne C. Hillhouse) was invited recently to participate in their kick-off activities for their Year of Literacy, a programme which will aim to raise the reading levels of the entire student body while exposing them to local authors and opportunities to express themselves. I was sure, during my visit, to tell them about the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, as I expect that in this year in particular we’ll have lots of entries from St. Mary’s once the competition launches. Here’s a link to an article I wrote on the year long programme in the Daily Observer newspaper. And see lots of pics from the activities so far, below.

Then they asked me to read from Dancing Nude in the Moonlight


Principal Myrna Isaac addresses the student body

Peace Corps volunteer Norma Jean Arey will be assisting with diagnostic testing of the entire student body


Shameka Dawkins, 15, won St. Mary’s jingle competition while the slogan for the secondary school’s year of literacy – ‘Reading is Smart, Everybody Let’s Start’ – was written by Kenard Patrice, 16. Shameka is pictured, centre, performing the jingle at the launch of the year earlier this month.

Local poet Sylvanus Barnes, who read during the opening, and Desiree Antonio, who assisted with the training of the teachers over the summer for the year ahead.


Barbara Arrindell of the Best of Books bookstore speaks to the students and pledges support for the year of literacy

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