The History of St. Elizabeth Technical High School

The idea of building a Technical High School in Santa Cruz was initiated by the Santa Cruz Citizen's Association in 1958. Many persons wanted the school to be built in Black River but, the citizens of Santa Cruz prevailed. Various representations were made to the Ministry of Education and Kaiser Bauxite Company. These institutions soon realized the importance of a Technical School and the latter donated twelve acres of land and a grant of ten thousand pounds from the Ministry to start the project.

The then Minister of Education, Hon F. L. Glasspole, decided that Saint Elizabeth Technical High School should be built and the opening date was set for early 1961. The first batch of students was even chosen before the groundbreaking ceremony.

Mr. E. G. Roper was appointed Principal on January 1, 1961. This was an indication of the seriousness of the stakeholders because; the physical school did not even exist at the time of the appointment. The school opened with 110 students on October 10, 1961 housed in one building. Under the direction of Mr. Roper, a School Choir and a sports programme were developed.

The school encountered various problems in the early years, such as lack of equipment, insufficient water supply and insufficient boarding accommodation in the community. The members of staff ,together with Kaiser Bauxite Company, contributed twelve thousand pounds to help alleviate the problems. A year later, Kaiser Bauxite Company lent tents and the second intake of students was made possible. At the end of the summer term, the Workshop, Arts and Craft, Laboratory, and Home Economics blocks were added to the school building.
In 1962, evening classes commenced with an enrollment of 36 students and on January 27th, 1964, 112 new students were admitted. In September of that same year a new classroom block was completed and for the first time, students registered on the first day of the term. In 1962 the Administrative staff moved from two to four and the Academic staff from seven to twenty-five.

Other generous contributors came on board to assist with the development of the school such as, the Esso Standard Oil Company which donated funds for a Movie Projector, Power Saw and other equipment. The Emanuel Brothers of Santa Cruz gave two scholarships, one for a boy in Agriculture, to the Jamaica School of Agriculture and, the other for a girl to pursue Home Economics at Church Teachers College, Mandeville.

The student enrollment gradually rose to five hundred and thirty-eight with fifteen classes. In 1971 the Ministry of Education started construction of the Junior Secondary Department. By 1972, the student enrollment stood at Eleven hundred with the completion of the Junior Secondary Department. The curriculum was consequently widened to include such subjects as Arts, Science, and other Industrial and Vocational areas. The Board of Governors allocated funds for the construction of a road, the installation of electric fans in the auditorium, and the fencing of the playing field.

In addition to the fact that STETHS has produced a number of outstanding individuals in various areas of society including lawyers, doctors, professors, teachers, politicians and businesses, undoubtedly some of our finest moments have been produced in the field of sports. In schoolboy cricket, STETHS has been the undisputed king, winning the Headley Cup on twenty-five occasions since 1979 including a sensational eleven straight from 1979-1990, losing the all-island championships on only five occasions. They have won the triple (Headley Cup, Grace Knock-out and Spaulding Cup) three years in a row- (2010 - 2012. No other school in the history of schoolboy cricket has ever done that. Since the 1970's, STETHS has won the Dacosta Cup on four occasions, (1974, 1999, 2009 and 2013), the last time being in 2013. In 1999, the school was the All-Island schoolboy football champions. STETHS has also produced a number of National Football players including former national coach Wendell Downswell, former national captains Milverton Brooks and Anthony Corbett plus the legendary Noel "Sweetie" Smith.

In Track & Field, STETHS has contributed to Jamaica's reputation as a world power producing a number of world-class athletes at both the junior and senior levels including Double Olympic and World Championships medallist Winthrop Graham and World Champion, Bridgit Foster-Hylton and Olympic silver medalist, Sherika Williams. Others of note include Ian Weakly, Kenroy Levy and Dinsdale Morgan.

Many captains have contributed to steering this ship on a successful course; these include: Mr. E. G. Roper(1961), Mr. J.C. Wray (1966), Mr. J. Pottinger (1970), Mr. B. St. Clair Burton (1982), Mr. S. U. Watson (1987), Mrs. D. Samuda (1999) first female and currently, Mr. K. Wellington (youngest principal).