BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre was abuzz with excitement in late September, after learning that its residents received a 100 percent pass rate during the 2020 CXC/CSEC Examination sitting.
Three male and three female students between 14- and 17-years-old, sat a combination of four subjects, English, Mathematics, Office Administration and Social Studies, and received passing grades, ranging from a Grade I (A ) to a Grade III (C) in the subjects.
“We were elated!” exclaimed New Horizons teacher Ms. Mary Clarke, noting that they expected some residents to do well, but were unsure that all residents would pass the exams. “When they all passed, everybody was excited. It was a pleasant surprise for everybody.”
The Centre, which provides a structured residential programme for teens with behavioural issues, offers four subjects: English, taught by Ms. Clarke; Maths and Social Studies, taught by Mr. Clyde Williams; and Office Administration, taught by Ms. G. Deslyn Richards. The academic classes supplement the counselling, skills and self-development programmes which the teens undergo during their residency.
In speaking of the 2019-2020 school year, Ms. Clarke indicated that it was going well until the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns forced teachers to suspend classes at the end of March, while residents remained at the Centre.
“It was hard, because we were not there with them, to offer them the usual support,” said MS. Clarke.
Although Ms. Clarke noted that teachers sent work for the students, she said that some residents became anxious and de-motivated, and others were not disciplined in completing their assignments, “and so we had to find ways of encouraging them,” she said.
With the 2020 CXC Examinations now over, many of the students are looking toward their future and the possibilities that lie ahead of them; a matter that is also discussed with their individual probation officers, before they are released from the Centre by age 18.
Ms. Clarke indicated that past residents have gone on to further their education at institutions like the Advanced Vocational Educational Centre and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, depending on their ability and academic achievement. She lauded the importance of the continued academic development provided for residents at the New Horizons Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.
“It is important; it helps to boost their confidence,” concluded Ms. Clarke. “In the past, they would have had issues with school for whatever reason, but when they reach here and realize ‘I can do this’, it helps them.”