On December 17, 2023, Oracabessa High School located in the Parish of St Mary, will mark its 50th anniversary with a banquet on its campus. The banquet ceremony will be hosted by Leo Gilling, one of the first Grade 7 students to attend the school at its opening in 1973. The event will start at 5 pm on Sunday, December 17, 2023.
A Special Invitation From Leo Gilling
Banquet host Leo Gilling has issued a special invitation to school alumni living overseas who are planning to travel home to Oracabessa for the Christmas holidays. He asks that they meet up at Oracabessa, noting that 50 years in operation means that there are 50 groups of Grade 7 students who have passed through the institution. Gilling states that this major accomplishment should be approached with pride and asks “to see at least two persons from each of the batches that attended OHS” at the banquet.
Achievements of Oracabessa High School
Oracabessa High School was built in 1973 and had an initial enrollment of 501 students, 11 academic staff members, three administrative staff, and an ancillary staff of four. The school has grown to serve over 1,500 students with 66 academic staff members, 11 administrative staff, and 14 ancillary staff. The school operates on a shift system in which each shift comprises Grades 7 to 11, and each grade is divided into three streams. Two special classes, one for Grade 7 on the first shift and one for Grade 9 on the second shift, cater to the needs of new Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT} and Gurukripa National Aptitude Test (GNAT) students, respectively. The school is managed by a Board of Governors. Several of its co-curricular activities have produced athletes who represented Jamaica in various local and global championship competitions. The Oracabessa High School choir was the second-place winner in the “TVJ All Together Sing” and the Children’s Gospel Festival. The school also won two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals at the 2012 JCDC School Festival, and the school band was the Top Performer at the festival before moving on to the National Finals. The school’s motto is “Be satisfied only with the best.”
About Leo Gilling
Leo Gilling is a Jamaicans.com broadcaster, writer, philanthropist, journalist, entrepreneur, and educator. He is the chair and founder of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network in Miramar, Florida. He is also the founder of the Oracabessa Family Day Picnic in Fort Lauderdale. Gilling also served as the former chair at the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force and the Celebrate Jamaica Los Angeles event. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and financial management and an MA in criminal justice from National University in La Jolla, California, as well as a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice system at Keiser University. Gilling has 30 years of experience developing, leading, and managing philanthropic programs in education, health, and citizen strategy for underserved and economically vulnerable communities. A native of Jamaica who grew up in Oracabessa, he trained as a teacher but switched to a career in business after college. He currently operates an insurance agency in Florida.
Photo – Facebook