Opportunities plentiful in ICT sector

— Minister Cathy Hughes tells Tutorial High graduating class of 2016

MINISTER of Public Telecommunications, Kathy Hughes has urged the Tutorial High School Graduating Class of 2016 to learn ‘everything they could’ about Information Communication

Technology, telling them that in so doing, a promising future awaits them in the world of work.

And ideally, a lot of the students find themselves in a distinctly advantageous position, since Tutorial High School was among the first schools in Georgetown to have been connected to the national fibre-optic Internet network.

Minister Hughes made these remarks as she delivered the feature address at the school’s graduation ceremony last Wednesday, where keenly enthusiastic graduands, teaching staff, schoolmates, supportive family members and other distinguished invitees were gathered to share in celebrating their accomplishment and seeing them off to higher heights.

Having been given such a jump start, and having benefitted from fully outfitted science laboratories, the minister expressed the hope that the graduates would be able to build on these achievements.

Minister Hughes also told the graduates that the doors of opportunities in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector are always open.

“This field already has doors open for you in the world of work. If you are technically inclined, learn how to fix and assemble laptops, iPads, and cell phones. Study computer engineering and the world will be your oyster. If you are a creator, you will find a lot of work in the computer software industry – in programming, applications/apps or creating children’s learning tools and games … and you will have the means to establish your own business.”

ICT is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.

“We have moved from desk-top computers with a mouse to IPads, notebooks and smart phones; from face-to-face interaction to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Now we’re on our way to real, lucrative competition with the rest of the world,” said Minister Hughes as she noted the advances made in ICT over the past decade.

Admonishing the graduands that there’s no time to waste, the minister cautioned them that the world is moving along very quickly; technology is advancing at an amazingly fast rate and should not be left behind.

Several certificates and trophies were distributed to the outstanding students. Valedictorian Joshua Grant attained passes in 12 subjects at the CSEC examination, securing 8 Grade Is and 5 Grade 2s.

He is currently a Grade 12 student at the Queens College with a view to pursuing a Natural Science programme at the University of Guyana.

Joshua is the son of Earl and Simone Grant of Republic Park, East Bank Demerara and is the fifth of six siblings. Moving on from Tutorial he asserts, “I am really going to miss this school because it has given me the motivation to realise my God-given potential and achieve more than I thought I could have achieved. I am grateful to God; my teachers who worked hard with me and inspired me; my parents, supportive siblings and my classmates with whom I shares good times.

Quoting from the Book of II Timothy Chapter 2:15 which says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth, Joshua says: “So my encouragement to others is to put God first in anything that you do; be dedicated; be hard-working and apply yourself in whatever you have to do and you will see Him come through for you.”

This story was first published by Guyana Chronicle.

Tutorial High School Is 75 Years Old: Celebrating the past, challenging the present, creating the future

The Castello Commemorative Fund

The ethos of the Castello brothers, Austin and Joseph, was an education at any cost. Hundreds of students from the pre-1976 era had the privilege of attaining a quality secondary education at this private school, free of cost, just because of the brothers’ generosity. Two dollars per term in the 1940’s was a lot of money for many poor working class parents. The fee rose to $30 in 1960. Consider the circumstances extant in colonial British Guiana, then factor in three or four children from one household, and the picture that emerges records a family in dire financial straits but with children of exceptional academic ability. There were quite a few families in this condition, workers who were simply unable to pay ‘school fees’ after the first term. In true Castello fashion, the children were allowed to continue their classes, some quite unaware of the fact that their parents had communicated their hardships to Austin and his likely response was, “OK. You will pay when you can. Your child(ren) just can’t stop going to school”.

His generosity was not confined to this cluster. Scholarships were awarded to deserving children “left, right and center”, to children from rural areas as far away as Mahaicony and Hopetown in West Berbice, from Wales to Uitvlugt on the West Coast Demerara, and to outstanding students living in Georgetown who had excelled at the Junior Cambridge Examination, or in sports. Tutorial was among the highest ranking second tier secondary schools of the time, of course after the tier 1 top five led by Queen’s College.

Many Tutorialites, from 1944 when the first intake graduated, to 1976, when the school was usurped under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education, went on to play very significant roles in the development of Guyana, in public and private capacities. Some became Ministers of Government and Parliamentarians (the late Kenneth Denny and Mr. Malcolm Parris); University of Guyana lecturers (Michael Parris, Gregory Blyden); others function in diplomatic circles (Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Norway, Desmond Sears and formerly of Japan, Hans Barrow); in public sector institutions (Dr. Barton Scotland and Fritz McClean), and the media (Mark Watson, Nazeema Raghubir, Esan Griffith). Many have migrated and joined religious orders (Monsignor Paul Jervis) while a others acquired Doctoral degrees in a wide assortment of disciplines.

This formerly high flying educational institution lost its status for a plethora of reasons. and it even came close to being shut down by the government of the 1970’s. Education was made free in 1972 so it was left to the Ministry to effect repairs to school buildings. Tutorial High located on 5th St. Alberttown did not feature on the priority list. The Castello brothers, now at ages 68 (Austin) and 65 (Joseph), although beyond the newly established retirement age of 55, stayed on at the school and Joseph was appointed Head Master three years before he retired officially in 1981/82. For obvious reasons, scholarships were no more.

THE CASTELLO COMMEMORATIVE FUND & AWARD

Just over a decade ago, the Alumni Association of four chapters (London, Toronto, Guyana, New York) floated the idea of reviving the Castello legacy of providing scholarships and academic awards to the school’s graduates who have won places at tertiary institutions in and outside of Guyana. The plans foundered a bit and lay dormant for a few years, but some members were quietly researching the legal ramifications, identifying possible sources of funding for continuous replenishment, and crafting constitutional requirements for its management. They then decided that the sources of funding would include contributions from the Alumni Chapters in Guyana and overseas, revenue from fund raising events, from gifts donated by past students, resources provided by the Education Ministry, and from the proceeds of the net revenues realized by each Alumni Chapter hosting a Triennial Reunion.

The school’s 74th Anniversary rolled around on 1st September 2013, and during the month-long commemorative activities, the Alumni Association launched the Castello Commemorative Award and Fund at a ceremony that featured high ranking officials in the Education Ministry.

In his feature address, President of the Guyana Chapter, Desmond Sears, explained that the Castello Commemorative Fund is a Tertiary Education resource that would be used to sponsor one Tutorial graduate every year who has performed creditably at any level of the Caribbean Council of Examinations (CXC) and gained admission to the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies or any other institution offering tertiary or vocational study.

The fund will also be used to supply educational facilities for the school, and should serve as a catalyst for students to aim for greater achievements. The Guyana chapter is managing the fund in tandem with representatives of the Student and Parent-Teacher bodies, overseen by the Ministry of Education.

The very first recipient of the CCF four-year Scholarship award was 17-year-old Cassandra Bovell. She had just gained admission to the University of Guyana to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She has the distinction of being the first Tutorial CXC Candidate to achieve a ‘double award distinction’ in Agriculture Science, and scored Grades I and 2 in English Language, Human and Social Biology, Mathematics, Social Studies and Information Technology.

That was not all she wrote – literally. Cassandra had been simultaneously enrolled in the Morgan Learning Center from the third form level and she performed creditably at CXC English Literature and Integrated Science (2013).

The school and Alumni tangibly rewarded her ground-breaking achievement in Agri Science with monetary gifts and trophies donated by the New York and Toronto Chapters. This humble, self-effacing young woman still believes that there was much more she could have done with her examinations to earn distinctions in all the subjects she wrote.

Though currently enrolled in the Biology degree programme, she is holding on to her dream of studying Medicine and one day becoming a specialist in Osteopathy.

Fifth Formers at Tutorial are currently writing the CXC 2014 examinations. From the results due in August, this year’s recipient of the Castello Commemorative Award would be identified and bestowed during the September celebrations marking the school’s 75th Anniversary.

In the meantime, the Guyana Chapter is preparing to host hundreds of alumni located all over the world for the Twelfth Triennial Reunion scheduled for 27th July to 3rd August, 2014. Diverse activities have been planned, and heading the schedule is a Courtesy Call on H.E. President Donald Ramotar. Visiting and home-based alumni will tour the Kaieteur Falls and interior eco-resorts, participate in the annual Emancipation celebrations and an Athletics/Fun Day. The highlights will be a grand Gala Dinner and Ball and an awards presentation event at which several past and present teachers and other outstanding personalities would be recognized. Past students could contact any member of the Guyana chapter for more information and to make reservations.

The Tutorial High Alumni are as determined as ever to restore the high level of achievement, academic and otherwise, that Tutorial used to be known for. At home and abroad they have been raising funds for many years and transmitting those funds and materials to improve the fortunes of their Alma Mater. The Guyana chapter is filled with former students of exemplary character and high conviction, people who are just as determined to return Tutorial to its glory days, those decades between 1939 and 1976, when the magnanimity of the Castello brothers, Austin and Joseph, knew no bounds.

Source: Guyana Chronicle

Tutorial High School Is 75 Years Old

Tutorial High School first opened its doors on September 1, 1939 by one man, Austin Cosmo Castello. A Visionary and a consummate educator he was, taking a huge leap of faith in then British Guiana in response to a very pressing need for secondary level education for children of working class parents.

Ironically, this exact date was the day the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, a signature act that blossomed into World War II. The effects of this catastrophe had not yet filtered down to this hemisphere, although our Colonial ‘owners’ were participating.

British Guiana remained relatively calm under colonial rule at a time when the secondary education system as it were catered only for the children of colonists, the wealthy migrant owners of sugar cane, cotton and tobacco plantations, and the commercial business class.

Details remain sketchy about the first location of Tutorial High School which began quite inauspiciously with just seven students. Austin Cosmo Castello was indomitable, determined to educate as many children as he could.

By 1946 the War was over, British Guiana was in the throes of a multitude of material shortages and deprivation, yet the population of Tutorial had swollen to several hundreds and had outgrown its initial location. Austin, called “the Toucan” everywhere else but to his face, secured a larger building aptly called “The Sunbeam Hall” at ‘GG’ Bent Street, Wortmanville. It was owned by a Friendly Society.

Soon enough this two-storeyed building was bursting at its seams as the number of entrants kept on growing. Though the school was located in Georgetown, many of the students came from villages on the East and West Coast Demerara, and West Coast Berbice.

At the time, the school was figuratively in competition for students with Central High, Washington High, Wray Enterprise and Chatam High Schools to name a few. Yet the halls of Tutorial kept on swelling. One may conclude that “the Toucan’s” easy approach to fee paying was a major contributory factor. The monthly fee in those pioneering days was $2.00 yet many parents struggled to meet it. Some had four children attending the school, others travelling from the rural villages were faced with additional costs for snacks, transportation and contingencies.

In the spirit of his cause – an education at any cost – Castello waived and reduced fees and offered full scholarships for high performers.

Late alumnus, Peter Britton, A.A., LLb (Lond) once wrote in an historical review, “I vividly recall that September morning in 1946 when about two hundred of us descended on that two-storeyed ‘GG’ Bent Street building. We came from as far East as Hopetown, West Berbice, and as far West as Stewartville, West Coast Demerara, whilst … encompassing those from Mahaicony, Beterverwagting, Plaisance, Kitty and central Georgetown.

“Most of us were armed with letters of introduction from our erstwhile headmasters and notifications of our scholarship awards, and were accompanied by our parents/guardians, most of whom were making their initial trip to the capital city.

“Anxiety was most high. Uniforms were stiffly starched and shining. The girls were all bedecked in ribbon bows, the boys in shoes and socks, some of them donning these for the first time.

“The sum of $2.00 per month was far beyond the reach of many parents, yet I do not recall a single student being turned away for non-payment of school fees. I certainly do remember many who were able to complete their schooling without making a single payment after the first term’s fees.

“We (the alumni) remain conscious of the fact that we were able to secure a quality secondary education by the gift of our Founders.”

Perhaps it was the palpable generosity of Austin Castello who was eventually joined in this noble endeavour by his brother Joseph, known fondly among generations of student bodies as “Bups”, which engendered the immense popularity of Tutorial High, that and the highly acclaimed athletic prowess of the students.

As was to be expected, THS took a coveted place of prominence among the extant high schools. Soon enough they outgrew the Sunbeam Hall and relocated several times to Croal Street, Stabroek, to the building that now houses the Malteenoes Sports Club in Thomas Lands, then to a three-storeyed building at 52 Fifth Street, Alberttown.

The alumni from the era of the 1940’s and 50’s cannot help but recall with vivid detail the stringent regulations that kept the male population physically separate from the female, and the laws of personal and social etiquette that became par for the course.

The late Senior Counsel Peter Britton wrote, “Our association with and proximity to the female population ended at the gate of the school. Any infraction of this rule was treated almost as a treasonable offence to be visited with the greatest severity on the sinner and the sinned alike”.

EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION & SPORTS

Mr. Britton went on to juxtapose the education system of today with yesterday’s especially in the context of corporal punishment, noting that it was a firm and inflexible rule at Tutorial more than 60 years ago that only the principal, or his deputy, or a senior member of staff in his presence and with his permission could administer corporal punishment, whatever the student’s infraction.

The students flourished in this environment that carefully nurtured development of the mind and body. The path chosen was competition – debates, elocution and quizzes for the ultimate prize of a Government Junior Scholarship to one of the elite secondary schools and junior colleges.

Lancelot Thom was the youngster who earned the school its first Grade I pass at the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate examination in 1941, just two years after its quiet opening. Students continued to win distinguished Government scholarships and awards for outstanding academic achievements.

Between 1945 and 1969 a number of Tutorial students won national scholarships and awards including Frederick Debidin, Jacob G. Bynoe, Shira Khan and Donald Roach. Tutorial’s Debating Team rose high in the local standings, often defeating teams from the more “elite” schools.

From the basics, the Castellos kept the curricula up to date with what obtained in the high-brow schools here and abroad. Science was taught almost from the inception, but the first fully outfitted science laboratory was opened in 1959, with facilities for tutelage in Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

Tutorial’s tradition of excellence in sports was just as consistently demonstrated throughout the 1950’s to the early 1970’s. In 1963 the Tutorial Girls team won the Roy Wong Basketball Trophy, and the boys won the ‘Juice’ Basketball tournament.

Individual athletes excelled in their respective sports, including track and field, cricket, rounders, football and rugby. In 1970 the school won the O.T. Donald Under 16 Football Cup, and in 1971 the rugby team snagged the Hardy Timmerman Trophy.

Tutorial athletes represented Guyana in the junior Carifta Games and the International Texaco Games in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago in that era.

The single most outstanding accolade that alumni hold on to is the achievements of the now late Claudette Masdammer-Humprey, British Guiana’s first female Olympian. Claudette entered Tutorial High on an Athletic Scholarship and her athletic (sprinting) ability was nurtured by the Castello Brothers.

In 1956, she was selected to represent the country (colony) at the Olympic Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia in the 100m and 200m races, and was the only female West Indian athlete who qualified for these premium sprinting events.

In 1958 she went to the Commonwealth Games and the following year copped the 100m Bronze medal plus Silver in the Long Jump at the British West Indian Championship Games held here in British Guiana.

Claudette’s performance earned her the national Sportswoman of the Year (1956) award in British Guiana.

It became a tradition for new entrants each academic year to become acquainted with the accomplishments of past students so they could endeavour to surpass them. “Excellence in all fields of Endeavour” was the motto, and they were never allowed to forget the intellectual giants who had graced the “Sunbeam Halls”.

The aura of success hung around Tutorial for almost three decades. It had become one of the most popular urban secondary education institutions with a reputation for high academic achievements, and for fearsome sports competitions.

The younger Joseph Castello officially retired in 1976 and Tutorial High became a fully government-controlled institution. In September 1984 the population was fractured, dislocated. Half of the student body was placed in the former Central High School building in Woolford Avenue (its current location), and the remainder in other secondary school buildings. In the 1990’s a series of renovations were undertaken in the Woolford Avenue building to add classrooms, Home Economics, Science & Information Technology laboratories.

A mid-afternoon fire in 2007 destroyed a relatively large wing and the school lost a huge portion of its historical records. The burnt out buildings have since been rebuilt and more modern facilities installed.

The four Chapters of the Tutorial High School Alumni Association are now very determined to restore the high level of achievement, academic and otherwise, for which Tutorial was well known.

The Alumni Chapters in Guyana, London and Toronto along with the Support Group in New York have been raising funds for many years and transmitting those funds and materials to improve the fortunes of their Alma Mater.

Source: Kaieteur News

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