||For years I had been troubled by the fact that there was no High School in the Parish of St. Thomas. Some years prior Mr.Louis Williams who was an accountant at McPherson Brothers and myself approached the then Member of the House of Representative for Western St. Thomas, Mr. J.McPherson suggesting that Government should use the old Hospital Buildings as the nucleus of buildings to start a High School for the Parish. Mr. McPherson spoke to the press about the suggestion to start a high school in the parish using the old hospital building and it was published in the Star but nothing became of the idea. Later I attended a special Synod of the Methodist Church at Coke Hall in Kingston on a Saturday where a decision was taken to take over Excelsior High School. At another regular session of the Synod a decision was taken to take over a little school in Brown's Town to re-establish York Castle High School. This prompted me to think that the church could do something for St. Thomas.
It was at a quarterly meeting of the St. Thomas Circuit of the Methodist church in November 1957, when I, Winston E. Clarke, mooted the idea that since the Methodist Church took over Excelsior and York Castle High Schools, it was time we approached the Synod with the request to start a High School in Morant Bay because St. Thomas was the only parish without a High School. This provoked some discussion after which Mr. P. M.McCalla moved a formal resolution requesting the Methodist Church to start a High School in Morant Bay.
The resolution was sent to the Synod of the Jamaica District of the Methodist church in January of 1960, when the Minister of Education then was Hon. F. A. Glasspole who gave the resolution his blessing.
The Methodist Church then approached Mrs. B. A. McPherson requesting her to sell them forty acres of land at Roselle for the purpose of establishing the school. Mrs, McPherson agreed to sell forty acres for the paltry sum of Two Thousand Pounds. A down payment of One Hundred Pounds was made after inspection of the site by Ministry officials. Later, the Ministry of Education advised the Church that they were not prepared to accept Roselle as the site for the school and instead the Church should find a site in Morant Bay.
One Saturday afternoon Mr. Sydney Ross and Mr. W.E. Clarke sat down in the house of the latter and drafted a memorandum which was forwarded to the Ministry of Education with six hundred and fifty signatures including those of people like Sir Alexander Bustamante, Mr.Roben Lightbourne, Hon. H. E. Pengelly then Custos of the Parish and a cross-section of the people of the parish including the banana carriers from the Bowden Wharf. Mr. Ross Murray was sent to a meeting that was held at Baker's Hall at which maps displayed areas where majority of the children would come from to attend the school. On this basis, the Ministry gave the Methodist seven days in which to find land within the town of Morant Bay.
On the seventh day, Mr. Ross returned to Morant Bay to meet at the People's Co-operative Bank with Mr. P.M. McCalla, I.Z. Matalon, J.U. Fagan, C.G. Llewellyn, Winston E. Clarke and Mrs. Drummond. At the close of the meeting there was a discussion on finding lands in the town. Mr. W.E. Clarke turned to Mr. McCalla and said, what do you think of the idea of giving the school land at the manse and build a new manse somewhere else-his reply was,"you know, I never thought of that. Mr. Matalon made an inquiry on how many acres of land were there and was told fifteen acres. The site was visited by Messrs Matalon, Fagan, and Clarke all of whom spoke to Rev. George A. Steele the superintendent of the St. Thomas Circuit. He lived in the Manse and was reluctant to the idea that the Manse and the lands be used for the school. Mr. Clarke reminded the gentlemen that the Ministry would accept the eight acres of land and two acres could be used in the building of a new Manse. The Ministry and the Chairman of the District were advised that a site was found within the town of Morant Bay for the high School.
Shortly after, a meeting of the Church and the Ministry was held on the site and the final decision was taken that the area identified would be the site for the school now known as Morant Bay High School. As the months progressed so did the work on the construction of a new Manse and a Headmaster's house. In January of 1961 the school was started in the Old Methodist Manse with approximately sixty-two (62) students. Mr. W.H. MiddIeton, a Welshman was made the first Headmaster. Prior to the opening of the School, a Board of Governors was appointed with the Chairman of the Methodist district, Rev. H. B. Sherlock, named as Chairman of the Board. Other members were Mr. P.M. McCalla, Hon. H.E. Pengelly, Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Winston Clarke, Rev. George Steele and Mr. I. Matalon.
Morant Bay High School has produced numerous students who have taken their places in various occupations - such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, economists, nurses, engineers, pilots, public relations consultants, religious ministry among other in Jamaica and abroad.
Mr. Winston Clarke
Founding Member & Vice-Chairman
Board of Management