Former students want to reopen Alleyne’s High

– week of activities planned to launch association

Members of the newly formed Alleyne’s High Old School Associa-tion will soon be hosting a reunion and one of the issues high on the agenda is the reopening of the Regent Street-based school.

The school, which was located almost opposite Bourda Market, was closed by the Ministry of Education some time in 2007 because of its poor location.
According to Martin Gaul, who is the founder of the newly formed association, the reunion will be held from April 8-15 and it is hoped that funds would be raised to reopen the school.

“It hurt quite a number of us to know that our school is being removed out of history,” Gaul told the Sunday Stabroek.

He said there are former students who are overseas who want references and other records from the school and have been encountering difficulties.
“We intend to approach the Ministry of Education to seek their blessing on the reopening of the school. If the government can probably take it back or if not I guess we would have to run the school privately. But we want to make sure we do everything in keeping with the laws of Guyana,” Gaul said.

Should the school become a private educational institution, Gaul said, plans are already in train to “lift the bar of the school” and while the building is still standing strong they will look at re-building it. This will be done in collaboration with the AME Zion Church which is next door and once owned the school.

The church will remove the manse from the compound and Gaul said there are plans to build an L-shaped, three-storey school building out of concrete. The space in the compound will be utilized by the students for their recreation.

“But we would also have tight security [and] no student would be able to leave the compound unless there is a letter from their parents… because we don’t want the children to be coming out and running around in the streets and Bourda Market and that sort of thing, which I think were some of the problems we had in the past,” he said.

While the old students have been attempting to find out the reason behind the closing of the school, Gaul said one of the reasons they have heard was that there was not enough recreational space for the students. He hopes to get an audience with Minister of Education Priya Manickchand so they would not be faced with the same issues if and when the school is reopened.

The school came into existence in 1940 and was privately run until 1976, when the then Forbes Burnham government took over all schools.
Gaul only found out that the school was closed when he visited it last year and since then he and others have been attempting to find out what happened to the school’s records. While they have been told that they are “in a bond,” they are unable to verify this. They wanted to use the records to get in contact with old students and former teachers of the school.

“The school had such things like a big board with brain of the school for each year, scroll of honour for each year and we wanted to get those boards so that we could have paid tribute to those persons during our reunion week and we are unable to get hold of those boards…” Gaul said.

He and others have since created a Facebook page and some 400 old students have joined. Persons have been joining on a weekly basis and it is expected that over 200 former students will attend the reunion activities.

The week of events will commence with a church service at the AME Zion Church which will be followed by a welcoming reception in the school building. April 10 will see a culture show at the school building. The following day the association’s first general meeting will be held where office bearers will be elected. A tour of Banks DIH and a visit to Splashmins are planned for April 12 and the following day a prom night – dinner and dance – will be held at the Georgetown Club. This will be followed by a camp fire at the Scot’s Ground on Woolford Avenue and things will wrap up with a family fun day at the Eve Leary Sports Club ground. Gaul said on that day former students who have their own businesses will be invited to have booths so they can in the future receive support from persons who attended the school.

Registration forms and tickets for the various events can be had at Wireless Connections and Essence Photo Studio on Croal Street, or persons can visit the school building between 5 pm and 7 pm during the week, or call 629-7250 or 622-7162.

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