Last Saturday, the Kingston Technical High School (KTHS) Friends of KTHS Central Florida alumni group in Orlando held their annual picnic at Blanchard Park. The event was a fundraiser to help raise funds towards classroom restoration at the historic school in Kingston, Jamaica.
The 100 plus alumni and friends attending the picnic enjoyed the music by DJ Kevin Miller (class of ’90). With the sounds of reggae music echoing in the park some could not resist dancing to old familiar rhythms. While some danced, others had fun playing dominoes and checkers. For the children in attendance there was a sack race and bean bag toss. Zumba dancing was another fun thing that got women and young girls demonstrating their dance moves.
Anyone who did not get involved in any activity probably had fun listening to the master of ceremonies Jacqueline Quarrie-Johnson (’83) and sister of the KTHS Orlando alumni chapter coordinator (Collette Johnson (’82). Jacqueline who hosted the first event last year was entertaining and you could easily get the impression that she is a professional stand-up comic.
The oldest alumnus at the picnic — Roy Burgess (’45) was recognized as the oldest alumnus at the picnic. Mr. Burgess graduated 15 years before I started at KTHS and despite this difference, it was surprising to learn that we had some common teachers. The youngest alumnus was DJ Kevin Miller (’93).
During my conversation with Mr. Burgess, he shared memories of our beloved Alma Mater, which recently celebrated its 120 years anniversary. His principal was Mr. Goldsworthy an Englishmen whose nickname was “TheGolds.” The acting principal also an Englishmen was Mr. Allston.
At 88 years of age, Mr. Burgess memory is still sharp as he remembers many of his teachers — Mr. James who taught him mechanics, Mr. Heron was his and my math teacher, Mr. Morrison (Bups) his and my metalwork teacher, Mr. Jasper Wray (who later was a principal) his technical drawing teacher, and Mr. Atkins (Capo) who was the vice principal when I was there.
Mr. Burgess shared a joke about Mr. Morrison that I had heard as a student but did not quite remember until he mentioned it. Mr. Morrison used to ride an old motorcycle to school. You could always hear him coming in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. His bike would make a familiar sputtering sound bup, bup, bup…that earned him the nickname Bups.
Mr. Morrison was not particularly fond of his nickname and students would hide out of sight and yell out “Bups.” We did the same for Mr. Atkins whose nickname was “Capo.” From the first floor of the main building at the entrance (the five or six story building), we would hide behind the cinder block lattice wall where the lockers were and that gave us a good view of Mr. Atkins outside his second floor office smoking his pipe. We would yell out “Capo” and hurriedly went back to the classroom or to a different floor. I recall one day when a student yelled “Capo,” he hurriedly came down to our class to find out who was the culprit. Unable to get the name he detained the whole class that afternoon.
Other KTHS alumni from the ’60s and beyond at the picnic were, Gerald Walker (’53), Clifford Clark (’59) and his wife Cynthia (’60), Horace Thompson (’60), Ewan Chung (’63), and myself (class of ’64). The youngest alumnus was the DJ Kevin Miller (’93) which means from his graduation to the ’60s there were seven generations of alumni.
The picnic was planned by the following Friends of KTHS Central Florida alumni group: Clifford Clarke (’59) and his wife Cynthia (’60), Horace Thompson (’60) and Goldie Thompson, Jermel Shim (’64) and his wife Estella, Veronica Wright (’69), Collette Johnson (’82) coordinator, Jacqueline Quarrie-Johnson (’83), Gail Smith Nunez (’83), Doloris Reid (’87), Swelon Davis ( ’87),and Kevin Miller (’93).
Friends of KTHS Central Florida alumni group was launched in 2014 with the help of Alvin Newell (’73) who was at the picnic with his wife Carmen (’73).
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