As I began to prepare this report foremost on my mind was the current state of the world of education. I consider it an honour to be in the world at this particular juncture in time. I consider it to be an even greater honour to be part of the NorthGate College community at this time. As a member of this community one has an interesting vantage point on the world as a whole but even more so of education. One can focus on media reports of failing systems, teacher burn-out, inappropriate teacher-student interface, increasing school based violence, male aggression, declining grades and come to the conclusion that there is only emptiness and perplexity. Such a view will instil fear and invoke that innate desire to guard oneself from harm. One can listen to the opinions of some colleagues in education or in hear the comments from the general public about ‘young people who have no behaviour’ or ‘the youths who are heartless’ and begin to allow the cynicism and hopelessness to seep into your consciousness. Such a view is designed to make one sink into a subconscious world – do the tasks by rote ‘all things will continue as they are – nothing will ever change’. One can view the world from that perspective or view it through the lens of a NorthGate College educator.
From our perspective the world of education is not in shambles. We believe in what we do because more than a place where one can become certified, NorthGate College is a platform for hope. I invite you to take a view of the world from our vantage point. What do we see?:
- We see governance, a community that responds willingly to the call and commits to a vision because there is undeniable proof that the principles here taught produce life.
- We see a community that is built accurately; where students are pointed in the direction of their destiny and inspired to passionately pursue it
- We see a school where people can and do change; we see community affirmation and celebration when that change occurs
- We see a lab; a place where we can develop and test new things – where we are not encumbered by the letter of the law that stifles creativity but we are free to try, for out of even the failures we learn lessons that will chart the course for the way forward
- We see young people of profound thought, bold but prudent; knowing that their voice must be heard because they have a valid place in the world and they are learning how to be shaped for that place
- We see a place where young men learn how to develop manhood patterns from an early age and young women learn how to emulate dignity and beauty. We see a place where the genders learn how to complement each other and one group does not advance at the expense of the other.
- We see genuine friendships and relationships birthed – we see a place where the generation gap is demolished and staff and students work together cohesively
- We see a future that is filled with promise.
- We see a divine plan
This is why we do what we do at NorthGate College, because beyond the academic results – we look for the real substance. The values are the 9/10s of who we are, the outward parts are just the 1/10 on the surface. So as we examine the different facets of this year’s Director’s report, let us keep this at the forefront of our minds: we celebrate the results that we do see because of the undergirding principles that we cannot see.
NorthGate College has always maintained a healthy academic record: our statistics in key disciplines often meet and exceed the national and regional norm. The year 2008-2009 was no different.
The CSEC subjects in which the class attained a 75% pass rate were:
- Physics and English B
In which the class had an 85% pass rate:
- Chemistry, French, Mathematics, POA
In which there was a 90% pass rate:
- English A, Information Technology [general], POB, Social Studies
In which there was a 100% pass rate:
- Information Technology [technical]
At the CAPE level the subjects in which there was an 80% pass rate:
- Accounting and Spanish
The subject at which there was a 95% pass rate:
- Communication Studies
The following subjects had a 100% pass rate:
- Art & Design, Computer Science, Economics, French, Literatures in English, Management of Business, Pure Mathematics and Sociology
We are always pleased when the students apply themselves do the work and get the results. Graduands – the gauntlet has been dropped; this is your legacy we expect no less of you and we are confident that you will so do.
Subject Additions: this year we were able to source the funds to build an additional laboratory so that we could add two other subjects to our complement; CAPE Biology and Chemistry. We were happy to increase our subject offerings and more so to enlist the help of our collaborative partners Mrs Maria Wong and Mrs Coleen Berment at St Josephs Convent as we seek to have an excellent start for this year’s exam results.
None of these results and the lessons learnt could have been done without the assistance of the best staff in the world!
This year we added five persons to our faculty: Mrs Liz Ann Lamont-Harper [English, Caribbean Studies and Drama] Mrs Ruth Rudden [Mathematics], Mrs Elizabeth Beckford [Music and Phys Ed] and Ms Christal Yorke [Spanish], Mrs Valiscia Tobias-Young [Chemistry]. Each of these ladies has added a unique flavour and expertise to the staff – we are so glad to have them engrafted into the NorthGate Community.
We also celebrated the return of Mrs Karla Williamson to the Mathematics department.
Alas, we also bid adieu to one of our long standing and faithful members; Mr Curt Bowman was presented an opportunity to pursue a job in the medical field; something he always wanted to explore. Mr. Bowman was our Science and Biology teacher for 8 years. Even as he left his post last week Friday he came to the office to see me to advise that he was only a phone call away and that he would be thrilled to come to do lectures when they can fit in with his new schedule. That is an NGC staff member! We wish him well in his new profession, in fact at present he is in Panama that is why he is not with us this evening, but we know that he will be back with frequent visits because you can check out of NorthGate but never leave!
On the note of staff recognition and genuine NGC branding I would like to publicly acknowledge those members who have become a permanent part of the Northgate College fabric. Though this not a long service awards ceremony we must take time to honour the commitment and dedication of our staff members who celebrate more than ten  years service this year: Mrs Natasha Smith, Mr Curtis Forbes and Mrs Patricia John Baptiste. Ms Kay Battersby the longest standing office admin person. We commend them for their tireless service to the NGC community and by extension to the nation.
This year we participated in many activities and performed commendably:
- CHOGM: Kara John placed 1st and Daniel Byer placed 3rd in the national CHOGM essay writing competition
- Isaiah Eastmond and Justin Millet were two sixth formers who had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at CHOGM – they learnt and applied all the principles taught at the College in a real life context
- Swimming: our school’s swim team participated in three swim meets and we placed 3rd in the co educational division in the TSTT Secondary School’s swim meet. We really commend our swimmers as the diligence to attend swim practice every week is finally bearing fruit.
- Football: our footballers fought valiantly and displayed great determination in the face of difficult odds. Though the guys did not place in the tournament the lessons in discipline that they learnt will stand them in good stead
- Hockey: our Form 2 students have been receiving expert training in hockey by a Ministry of Education approved coach. Mr Beckford is more than a coach to the students he is part of our extended family as he is the husband of our new staff member Mrs Elizabeth Beckford. This Easter vacation one of our students, Jeshajah Drayton, participated in the National Hockey Board’s tournament and his team placed first.
- Haiti Drive: the form 5 & 6 students organized an internal ‘Help Haiti Drive’ after the devastation that ensued following the January 12th earthquake in Haiti. We commend them for their initiative and the compassion shown to those less fortunate – these are qualities that we espouse and uphold.
- Cricket: our fledgling cricket team attempted a noble feat – to enter a competition with boys who were more experienced and better prepared than they. They did not win any matches but they learnt about the value of team support and a positive outlook when faced with insurmountable odds. They emerged from the experience even more inspired to be ready for next year’s competition.
- AMCHAM: our sixth form students represented us at the AMCHAM’s Youth Productivity Forum. This was the first national competition of its kind and the students really did us proud by placing first in their category. As a result of this placement they are to be part of a group who will write a position paper to be aired to the cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago.
- National Dance Association: Abiodun Dosu represented us at the NDA Secondary School’s Dance competition, you will see her talent later on in today’s proceedings and I am sure that you will agree that she deserved her placement. She placed 2nd in her category.
- Music Festival: Our choir members fought valiantly to master the test piece for the Music Festival. They were unable to do so in time for the event. As a reward for their hard work they went to hear the other choirs nonetheless and were encouraged by the fact that even the adjudicator said the piece was too hard! The choir works very well and what they do not always possess in innate skill they make up for in personality and determination. We applaud their efforts and we will also enjoy their talent later on today.
Co-Curricular/Extra Curricular Additions:
We continue to have a full spread of co-curricular activities to complement the academic offerings;
- We had our first and hopefully annual NGC concert – it was a success; the students sang, they danced, they rapped and performed poetry. We look forward to another one in December of this year.
- This year we started the in-house radio talk show called ‘Student Chat’. This was held on Wednesday mornings in Term 1 and was only made possible because of our newly installed PA system. The Form 6 students were quite excited and really had some interesting discussions. It seems like we have a few budding radio announcers. We will certainly be listening out for them on the national airwaves.
- Our annual Sports Day was a resounding success. The pageantry continues to astound members of our wider community who marvel at the students’ creativity. The theme this year was ‘The Seed Produces the Harvest’ – hats off to Team Purpose who won the competition yet again. They must never be too comfortable however, as Teams Destiny, Impact and Accuracy are close on their heels – if they lapse for one moment the trophy will go to another team. Who can tell who will win in 2011?
- We re-vamped and started several co-curricular clubs: the photography club, hockey, choir, drama club, ballroom dancing. The students have been really enthused, more than the skills that they learnt we appreciate watching them enjoy life and learn life lessons in a non-threatening way.
- The young men of the College roared into action with the launch of the Male Empowerment Initiative in March of this year. As you would have heard from Mr Jameson, this is an element of which we are very excited as we know the benefits that will redound not only to the guys themselves but to the wider NGC community and to the society at large.
What an amazing year this academic year has been and even as we round this one off to a close we gaze into NGC 2010-2011 and beyond. So what do we see for NorthGate College as we peer into the next year?
- We see our graduands poised and ready to take their place as they enter the next phase of life.
- We see our current students more readily equipped, able to achieve that seemingly elusive work-life balance
- We see a renewal of the passion for knowledge, where students push past learning for certification and instead develop that desire to enquire
- We see the staff sharing their passion and skill with young, eager professionals whilst and providing an oasis of refreshment to others who have been wearied by years of toil
- We see a vibrant alumni maintaining the standards they were taught and continuing in the NGC way
In short, we see NorthGate College continuing to do what we have been raised up to do – have an Impact Through Education
I thank you.