St. Jago High School

St. Jago High School (formerly Beckford & Smith) in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Jamaica, founded in 1744, is one of the oldest, continuously operated schools in the Western Hemisphere. It is renowned for graduating some of Jamaica's senior military officers, world class cricketers, academic scholars, performing artists, and Olympic athletes.

St. Jago High School
School Crest 3D.png
St Jago High School Crest
33 Monk Street


Coordinates17°59′59″N 76°57′05″W / 17.9998306°N 76.9513053°W / 17.9998306; -76.9513053Coordinates: 17°59′59″N 76°57′05″W / 17.9998306°N 76.9513053°W / 17.9998306; -76.9513053
TypePublic school (government funded)
MottoLabor Omnia Vincit
(Work Conquers All, Labor Conquers All)
Religious affiliation(s)Anglican
Established1744; 278 years ago (1744)
FounderPeter Beckford (bequest)
ChairpersonLissa Grant
PrincipalCollette Feurtado-Pryce
ChaplainKatherine Williamson-Teape
Age range11-20
Number of students1800+
LanguageEnglish and Spanish
Hours in school dayCurricular: 8:20 to 2:40
Extra-Curricular: 3:00 to 4:00
HousesBeckford, Campbell, Bell, Wortley, Smith, Nuttall
Colour(s)Green and gold   
SongBorn in the Shades of Ancient Santiago
SportsTrack and field, football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, swimming, rugby, netball, basketball, chess
NicknameJago, Ravens
YearbookRavensworth Review

The Principal at St Jago High School is currently Collette Feurtado-Pryce, who was appointed to the position in January 2016. The Senior Vice Principal at St Jago High School is Mrs Antoinette Wright-Dallen and the Junior Vice Principal is Mrs. Careen James-Barnett.


St Jago was founded in 1744 under the will of Peter Beckford (junior), one of the wealthiest planters in the Colony of Jamaica. When he died in 1735, he had amassed a huge personal fortune, including the ownership of 1,737 slaves.[1]

St Jago was the third oldest school in Jamaica, after Wolmer's Boys', one of the Wolmer's Schools (1729) and Manning's School (1738). In the 18th century, these schools originated from their benefactors’ concerns for the education of the country's poor, usually the children of poor whites, as there was no system in place for the education of the children of slaves.[2] It began as the Free School of St. Jago-de-la-Vega and later amalgamated two schools, Beckford and Smith (a boys' school) and Cathedral Girls High.

Beckford, in his will dated 1730, bequeathed the sum of 1,000 pounds sterling towards the construction of a free school or hospital. The institution was intended to benefit the poor people of the town of St. Jago de la Vega, later renamed Spanish Town. Several other smaller endowments were made, resulting in the establishment of the St. Jago de la Vega Free School in 1744. A century later, Francis Smith, then Custos Rotulorum of St. Catherine, bequeathed 300 pounds sterling in his will dated 1830, to the founding of a school in the parish. Called the Smith's Charity School after its benefactor, it was opened in 1833.[2]

In 1876, this school was to merge with St Jago de la Vega Free School to form Beckford and Smith's Boys School. In 1956, the final merger to form the present day St. Jago High School took place.[2] At that time, Cathedral High School for Girls was amalgamated with Beckford and Smith's Boys School and a new building housing the new St Jago High School was declared open in 1958 by then governor general of Jamaica, Sir Kenneth Blackburne. This property is commonly known as Ravensworth.

School CrestEdit

The school's crest is the term typically applied to the standard or coat of arms of the school. The crest shall be a shield in emerald green (heraldic vert) surmounting an up-arching banner. The banner is of gold (or) and bears the original Latin motto of the school in black (sable) upper case letters. The banner shall be neither cut nor clipped. The edges shall be straight. It shall be folded under once at each end. On the escutcheon shall be charged one heraldic lion or above three birds or, each of a different kind. The two shall be side by side beneath the feet of the lion. Beneath them shall be the final, which stands on the lowest point of the shield. The birds shall all look left while the lion passant guardant. (i.e. facing the viewer, the right paw of the lion shall extend and point to the left.)

Extracurricular activitiesEdit

  • Sports, particularly cheerleading and track and field.
  • Performing arts (participant in annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Performing: : Arts Festivals).
  • School's Challenge Quiz Competition; winners on five occasions, most recently 2022.
  • First Jamaica Guide Company (which began in Jamaica in 1915 at Cathedral High School for Girls)
  • Spirit Team (SJMB)

Athletic housesEdit

The school has six houses which compete for athletic honours:

  • Beckford (Red)
  • Bell (Green)
  • Campbell (Orange)
  • Nuttall (Purple)
  • Smith (Blue)
  • Wortley (Yellow)

Notable alumniEdit






  1. ^ Beckford and the Slave Trade Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "5 Oldest High Schools In Jamaica". The Jamaica Gleaner. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Khadija Shaw was born to roll the leather, says her mom". Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Athletes - Dowdie Peta-Gaye Biography". Retrieved 28 August 2011.

External linksEdit