By Delroy Wallace
Class of 1963
I remember going through the gates, it was the Christmas term of 1959. I was placed in form 1A, along with six (6) other boys and twentyone (21) girls. I remember it to this day! Because there were only seven boys in class we bonded early and I remember their names to this day: Charlie Hendricks, Patrick Omess, Carlton Lowrie, Patrick Dale, Wayne Christie, Telford Bowen and of course there was me.
We were all directed to our class in the esteemed HERITAGE BUILDING. I looked around and noticed this was quite different from elementary school. In elementary school the benches and desks were rather long units, where you shared and sat beside other students. Here at MANNING'S HIGH SCHOOL I was given my own desk and chair and could choose where to sit.
That's where it started, and what a journey. My first form teacher was a Mrs. Smith, chubby, soft spoken and made us all feel at ease. When I left MANNING'S in the winter of 1963 I left with incredible memories and some lasting friendships. In school I remember going to "music" classes, which at the time I thought was odd, as we didn't play any instruments but had to sing like crazy. I learnt how to hit notes, and vary tones, and discovered that I could really sing or so the teacher (Miss Davis) said. Our best singer was Carlton Lowrie, he was unbelievable. Of course he was extraordinarily bright as well and when we all reached the fifth form (fifth year in school for my friends who never heard of our British system), singing was just a pastime, we all gave up music.
Of course in school there were lots of different classes and humorous situations as well, but it was on the playfield that I had the most fun. You see in primary school I enjoyed outrunning my taller and older classmates and wanted to test my mettle against these kids I never knew before. Well I won some and lost some, but I understand my record of 9.5 seconds run over 75 yards in 1959 still stands as a record in the Track Events for Class 4 boys.
I represented the school in Football, Cricket and of course Track & Field. “Back then” you had competition amongst your teammates on our "Sports Day", for inter-house games. I remember well in 1961 the thrill and exhilaration when our own Cosmond Vaughn won the Class 1, 440 yards in 50.1 seconds, a record time at the Inter-Secondary Schools Championships at Sabina Park in Kingston, beating the highly fancied pair of Dwight Anderson (KC) and Dennis Anderson (Happy Grove). I also witnessed Rovan Locke winning the Class 2, 440 yards on a wet track in Kingston at the National Stadium in 1962. At the time Rovan Locke , who was unbeaten in the heat and semi-final, prevented a sweep of all sprint events by the vaunted Kingston College.
Our finer moments on the sports field also included a particular Headley Cup Cricket win over our nemesis Cornwall College in Montego Bay, a difficult place to win, and numerous wins in football matches, cricket matches and our fun relay events at various "Western Championship" meets.
It was at Manning's that I learnt the spirit of camaraderie. There were no pretentious people there. It was at Manning’s that with many of my colleagues genuine friendships where built. So much so that after fifty (50) years of not seeing so many of my schoolmates, on seeing them at our recent (2014) picnic in South Florida, the love and laughter that ensued was as it was those long past 50 years. I will cherish these friendships as long as I live.
To the present students at the school I would like to let them know that during my time at the school, there was exemplary behaviour, extensive courtesy meted out by all and to all, fierce competitive spirit, true love and kindness shown, and respect for authority and seniority. Those principles are among those that allowed the school to be a credit to the society. For many of us who walked the halls of Manning's those principles laid a very good foundation on which we have built over the years.