The Bog Walk High School in St Catherine has been renamed the Enid Bennett High School in honour of the late former State minister and daughter of the parish, who was instrumental in the establishment of the institution.
Bennett played a key role in securing funds and land for the construction of the school, along with Tacius Golding High School and Lucky Valley Primary School in the 1970s under the ‘New Deal in Education’ project.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid, in his address at the renaming ceremony on the grounds of the institution on Tuesday, hailed Bennett as an exceptional servant of the people.
“She had an outstanding record in community service and in (her) political life… and, therefore, this is a fitting opportunity for us to recognise her contribution to the nation,” he said.
He added that “it is delightful because not only do we have an opportunity to recognise the role played by a humble Jamaican who was passionate about the welfare of the less privileged in society but also to celebrate the significant growth and progress of this school since it’s founding in the 1970s”.
Principal Patrick Phillips said the school board, administration, teachers, students and other stakeholders welcome the name change.
He also informed that the uniform for the fifth-form students will be changed at the start of the upcoming new school year.
“Ordinarily, the students who are moving from grade 10 to grade 11 would not change uniform; however, with the new name, we have to have a new look, so we are going to change the uniform,” Phillips said.
Bennett’s grand-niece, Belinda-Gae Orrett, thanked the Government and the school’s administration, noting that “we the members of her family accept this honour with pride and humility”.
She said that one of her late grand-aunt’s proudest achievements was her role in the establishment of the school “to give the children a ladder whereby they can climb out of poverty. We are happy that her work has been recognised. We are happy because it means her sterling service will never be forgotten”.
Bennett was born in Linstead on May 18, 1931. She started her education at Linstead Primary School and later attended St. Helen Commercial School, where she qualified as a stenographer.
She was elected Councillor for the Sligoville division and later Member of Parliament for Central St Catherine, before moving to represent St Catherine West Central.
She served as minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government between 1980 and 1982, and minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security between 1982 and 1989. She was awarded the country’s fourth-highest honour, the Order of Jamaica, in 2012.
Bennett is hailed as a trailblazing politician, serving as Member of Parliament for 30 continuous years until her retirement in 1997 and setting a record as a female legislator in the House of Representatives.
Throughout her years of service in politics, she aimed to transform the lives of citizens and was instrumental in establishing community centres in Buxton Town and Point Hill, improving the West Central St Catherine road network and bringing electricity to several communities in the constituency.
Bennett died on December 22, 2017 at age 86 after a brief illness.
Bog Walk Junior Secondary first opened its doors on September 14, 1971 to 680 students, 16 teachers, three administrative staff members and seven ancillary staff workers. The school’s name has changed over the years to Bog Walk Secondary School, Bog Walk Comprehensive High School and Bog Walk High School.