It was at a quarterly meeting of the St. Thomas Circuit of Methodist Churches held in the Morant Bay Methodist Church November 1959, that Mr. Winston E. Clarke mooted the idea to have a high school in St. Thomas. For a long time, St. Thomas had been without a high school of its own and academic achievement could only be obtained by the wealthy. This provoked some discussions, after which Mr. P.M. McCalla moved a formal resolution requesting that the Methodist Church start a secondary school in Morant Bay.In January 1961, school started in the Old Methodist Manse with approximately sixty-two students.Prior to the opening of the school, a Board of Governors was appointed with the Chairman of the Methodist District, Rev. H.B. Sherlock as Chairman of the Board.For the next ten years, the school’s population increased each year and shed-like open buildings were erected for classrooms.
In June 1965, the school entered its first set of candidates for Cambridge G.C.E ‘O’ level examinations.The school has continued annually to enter students in this examination and in its equivalent the C.X.C. The headmaster, Mr. Middleton, resigned in July 1965.During the late 1960s, the institution was made into a two-stream school.In September 1971, the school started its first official sixth form and in June 1977 entered its first set of candidates for G.C.E. ‘A” level examinations.Prior to this, students wishing to enter sixth form were transferred to other schools.Since 1971, the school has maintained a sixth form and continues to enter students annually for Advance level examinations.As a result, the school changed from a two to a four-stream school.With this expansion came the appointment in 1973 of the school’s first Vice Principal, Mr. Howard Jackson.
A profile done on Morant Bay High School without its glorious achievements in sports would be grossly incomplete.Since its inception, the school has entered various competitions locally and internationally.In the early sixties, Cross Country race was part of the school’s sporting activities thanks to the Mr. & Mrs Winstone, Derrick and Dudley Clarke, Mr. Gill and Miss Leaker, the sports masters and sports mistress at the time.The school gained silver medal in the 880 yards at National Girls’ Championship in 1964.In the later years, the track and field programme, under the watchful eyes of Mr. Howard Jackson, up the 1980s continued to bring the school into national focus.The school won the Eastern championships on numerous occasions, gaining prominence in the National Girls’ Championships and other track and field events.Over the years, our students have represented Jamaica at the Penn Relays, CARIFTA games and have gone on to represent Jamaica internationally.In 1979, the school was invited to the Lady Gator Florida Relays, where the team broke the record for the 4x100m and 4x200m relays.During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the track and field programme was suspended and the school came out of national focus.In 1999, members of the school were back on the CARIFTA team and Mr. Bryan was awarded coach of the year in 1999 for the Eastern Zone. Throughout the years, the number of activities has increased and students are strongly encouraged to take part in at least one activity.Since the school was operating on a shift system introduced in September 1978, the children on the second shift were unable to participate in these activities.
Today, the school’s strong emphasis on education is matched by its interest in the physical development of the students.Emphasis has been placed on cultural and intellectual development through various clubs and societies such as the Inter School Christian Fellowship, Dance, Drama, Eisteddfod, Chess and Key clubs.Schools Challenge Quiz, the Debating Society, Choir, Cadet, Girls’ Guide, the Science Club and the Society of Cultural Awareness add enrichment to the lives of our students.Phenomenal growth has taken place in the school over the years.The school has ten departments and a varied curriculum is offered.Over the years, the school motto Carpe Diem has been the guiding principle behind this growing institution.