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Wolmer's Schools

The Wolmer's Schools
Age Quod Agis
National Heroes Circle
Kingston 4, Jamaica
Wolmer's Schools is located in Jamaica
Wolmer's Schools
School type Secondary schoolx2 & Prep School
Founded 1729
Founder John Wolmer
Status Open
School code 01042/01043[1]
Principal Thelma Barnett (Wolmer's Boys')
Grades Kindergarten to 13
Gender Boys/Girls/Co-ed
Age 3 to 19
Campus type Urban
School colour(s) Maroon and Gold
Nickname Wolmer's

Wolmer's Schools, located in Kingston, Jamaica consists of Wolmer's Pre-School, Wolmer's Prep School and two high schools, Wolmer's Girls' School and Wolmer's Trust High School for Boys. The original school is the second oldest (Combermere in Barbados was established in 1695) English speaking school in the Caribbean. The Wolmer's Schools are considered among Jamaica's most prestigious schools, with a traditional British-style uniform, a Christian ethos in which the schools forces its beliefs on to studens. The schools more closely resemble British schools of the 1950s than of today.[2]


  • History 1
  • Curriculum 2
    • School crest 2.1
    • Rhodes Scholars 2.2
  • Extracurricular activities 3
  • Wolmer's High School for Girls 4
  • Cricket 5
  • Wolmer's Old Boys' Association 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • Headmasters of Wolmer's Boys' School 8
  • Houses 9
    • Nickname 9.1
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Wolmer's can boast of being the second oldest school in the Caribbean having been founded on 21 May 1729, the same day John Wolmer made his last will and testament, leaving the bulk of his estate for the foundation of a free school in the parish of his death. The sum of the legacy was £2,360.

Little is known of John Wolmer except that he was a goldsmith in Kingston for more than twenty years. It is possible that he was originally from Switzerland. It is known that that he was married in the St. Andrew Parish Church on July 1705 and that he died in Kingston on 29 June 1729.

There were some delays in giving effect to Wolmer's will but, after many amendments and conferences between the House of Assembly and the Council, a law was passed and in 1736 the Wolmer's Trust, which would manage the affairs of the school, was established.

The original Wolmer's Trustees then, as now, were persons of great repute in society. In fact, in the early days the trustees threatened to outnumber the students. They included the Commander-in-Chief and four senior members of Council. There was the Speaker of the House of Assembly; the Chief Justice; the Custos of Kingston; the four senior Magistrates of Kingston; all the members of the Assembly for Kingston; the Anglican Rector; the Church Wardens and vestrymen of Kingston plus six free citizens to be appointed each year.

The law that established the Wolmer's school made no distinction in respect of colour, class or creed of the students, nor was there discrimination between boys and girls. In 1782, there were 64 boys and 15 girls on roll and the staff consisted of a Chief Master; a writing master and accountant; a teacher of mathematics and a teacher of the French and Spanish languages.

The Wolmer's school was originally situated in downtown Kingston at what is still known as the Wolmer's Yard, now a parking lot and vendors' arcade beside the Kingston Parish Church. In 1896, the schools were separated and independent heads appointed for the Boys' and Girls' schools. After the 1907 earthquake, when most of the school buildings were destroyed, the schools were relocated to its present site, north of Race Course or what is now the National Heroes Park.

In 1941, at the instigation of Miss Skempton, the headmistress of Wolmer's Girls, the preparatory school was established to ‘feed' the girls' school. It began with six girls in the area which now houses the canteen and art room.

Over the years, the Wolmer's Schools have had many benefactors who have helped to ensure that the schools, which at the start of the new millennium comprise some 3,000 students and 150 faculty members, have fulfilled the hope expressed in the law of 1736, that Wolmer's would become "a very considerable and beneficial seminary of learning for youth".

Thoughts each Founder's Day go back to John Wolmer. A marble memorial in the Kingston Parish Church shows a seated figure of Liberty holding a medallion of the crest of the school and the sun of Learning breaking through the clouds of Ignorance.

Since Wolmer's bequest, there have been many other contributions to the schools by citizens. The largest recorded legacy to Wolmer's was made in 1831 when Ellis Wolfe donated £1000. In 1998, Vernon A Barrett, an Old Boy, endowed the trust with $5 million for the three schools. Houses have been named after several of the benefactors. Glasspole House was named after His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Florizel Glasspole, O.N., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.D., LL.D.(Hon) former Governor General and Old Boy, who chaired the 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee and was instrumental in the building of the joint sixth form block, completed in 1984. Sir Florizel died on 25 November 2000. The Wolmer's Trust owns all the lands housing the three schools and is responsible for their maintenance and repair.[3]


At the secondary school level, Wolmer's Schools follows the traditional English grammar school model used throughout the British West Indies, which incorporates the optional year 12 and 13, collectively known as Sixth Form. The first year of secondary school is regarded as first form, or year seven, and the subsequent year groups are numbered in increasing order up to sixth form. Students in the upper sixth form (year thirteen) are prepared for their GCE A-level examinations, however the option exists to sit exams after completing lower sixth form (year 12).

School crest

The Wolmer's Schools Crest is a replica of the original School Seal from the 1700s and represents "The Sun of Learning bursting through the Cloud of Ignorance".

Rhodes Scholars

Since 1904, Wolmer's Schools has had the enviable heritage of producing 23 Rhodes Scholars who have gone on to lead in various capacities both locally and internationally.[4]


  • 1907 VALENTINE, G. E. - Jamaica
  • 1909 NETHERSOLE, John M - Rhodes (Keble)
  • 1910 MERCIER, Frederick C. - Rhodes (Jesus)
  • 1911 STEPHENSON, Daniel P. - Rhodes (Lincoln)
  • 1914 FERGUSON, V. L. - Jamaica
  • 1918 LOCKETT, Maynard V. - Rhodes (St. John's)
  • 1923 WHITTLE, D. L - Jamaica
  • 1925 PRICE, E.W. - Jamaica
  • 1929 ROYES, Kenneth C. - Rhodes (Wadham)
  • 1932 SLEEM, K.A. - Jamaica
  • 1933 BURROWES, James T. - Rhodes (St. John's)
  • 1937 MARTIN, S. L. - Jamaica
  • 1938 STREET, S.P. - Jamaica
  • 1938 LEVY, Roy - Rhodes (St. John's)
  • 1940 MARTIN, Ronald Brown - Rhodes(Brasenose).
  • 1941 BURROWES, William D - Rhodes (St. John's).
  • 1946 BONITTO, John H. D. - Rhodes (Queen's)
  • 1949 WYNTER, Hector L. - Rhodes (Exeter)
  • 1950 MARKES, J. H. - Jamaica
  • 1952 DICKSON, Roy W. - Rhodes (Exeter)
  • 1953 BOGLE, Donald L. - Rhodes (Brasenose).
  • 1959 THAMES, Henry Earl - Rhodes (New College)
  • 1970 ALEXANDER, George H. - Rhodes (Balliol)
  • 1975 MORRISON, Cecil D. -Rhodes (Balliol)
  • 1976 MORDECAI, Jeffrey S. - Rhodes (St. Catherine's)
  • 1985 GOLDSON, Peter S. -Rhodes (St. John's)
  • 1986 ABEL, Evan Dale - Rhodes (Green College)
  • 1988 McBEAN, David -Rhodes (St, John's)
  • 1988 McDONALD, Sheldon -Jamaica
  • 2000 HANCHARD, Neil -Rhodes (Green)
  • 2003 STEWART, Darryl -Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes (Templeton)
  • 2015 PARKER, Tariq -Rhodes

Extracurricular activities

Wolmer's Schools ethos is governed by the adage "a Sound Mind in a Sound Body" and as such significant emphasis is placed on the extracurricular activities.

These include

Rotary Interact,

Wolmer's High School for Girls

Track and Field, Volleyball, Netball, Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Synchronized Swimming, Basketball, Football, Softball, Field Hockey, Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton, Cadets, Debating Club, Key Club, Heritage Club, Tourism in Action Club, Rotoract Club, Interact Club, Octagon Club, Drama Club, Art Club, Chess Club, School's Challenge Quiz, Steel Band Club, Inter-School Christian Fellowship(ISCF)and Teens for Technology(TFT)


Wolmer's Boys School was once referred to, locally, as the "University of Cricket" having the most wins of the Sunlight Cup for Inter Scholastic Under 19 Cricket. Wolmer's Boys has produced many cricketers that have represented Jamaica and the West Indies Cricket Team. As a matter of fact, Wolmer's Boys' School is noted in cricket in the West Indies for having produced six test wicket-keepers. The Daily Telegraph wrote: "One school: six Test wicket-keepers. There has never been any nurturing like it.".[5]

Wolmer's Old Boys' Association

The Wolmer's Old Boys' Association was founded in 1905 to keep Old Boys in touch with each other, while at the same time to preserve their affection for and to foster the interests of their alma mater. The current President is Mr Kirk Benjamin.

Over 100 years later, WOBA has evolved into a legally recognised charitable association that operates exclusively for the betterment of our school, the Wolmer's Trust High School for Boys.

Connected by our maroon and gold heritage, WOBA’s membership comprises alumna from virtually all walks of life who contribute their time, talents and resources towards, the advancement of the traditions of excellence known to "our school we all love dearly".

WOBA's core activities are geared towards providing financial support to our school and its students. We support educational initiatives and programmes that facilitate the holistic development of the students.

To this end, WOBA organises and executes various fund raising initiatives, of which our Annual Banquet a signature event.

WOBA also operates an ongoing mentorship programme that seeks to provide guidance and positive examples to the young men enrolled at our alma mater.

Our events and activities facilitate the Association's century old objectives and strengthens the Wolmer’s family and legacy.

The Constitution and By-Laws for WOBA is

Notable alumni

  • Dr Winston Freckleton, Educator, Scientist, Ph.D New York University, Jamaica's first Oceanographer, Lecturer/Academic Coordinator, University of Miami.
  • Professor The Hon Gordon Valentine Shirley OJ, - Principal, University of the West Indies, Mona; Former Jamaican Ambassador to the United States of America
  • Professor Frederick Hickling OJ CD, Professor Emitrius - University of the West Indies
  • Professor Fred Nunes,
  • Professor Patrick Bryan OJ CD, Former Head - Department of History, UWI, Mona
  • Professor Donald Robotham
  • The Most Hon Edward Seaga ON PC - Chancellor UTECH, Distinguished Fellow - UWI Mona Campus & Former Prime Minister of Jamaica 1980-89, Leader of the Opposition - 1974 - 1980 & 1989 - 2005
  • Professor Rohan Chambers, former Chair, Department of Business Studies, University College of the Cayman Islands and former Head, Accounting Division, School of Business Administration, UTECH
Arts and Culture

Business and Finance
  • The Hon Douglas Orane OJ, PC JP, former Senator, CEO of Grace Kennedy and Company
  • Milton Samuda, President - Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Jamaica Promotions Corporation
  • Maxim Rochester, Managing Partner PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • The Hon Lascelles Chin OJ CD, Chairman LASCO Group of Companies
  • Michael Ammar Snr
  • Michael Ammar Jr
  • Sameer Younis OJ, CD JP
  • LP Azar
  • Richard Powell, President and CEO, Victoria Mutual Building Society
  • Lissant Mitchell, Senior Vice President - Scotiabank Jamaica
  • Steven Gooden - Chief Executive Officer - NCB Investments
  • Mark Chisholm JP - Senior Vice President - Sagicor Jamaica
  • Ernest DeSouza CD, - former Spiritual Leader, Jewish Community in Jamaica
  • Rev Donald Chambers, Roman Catholic Priest - Rector, Holy Cross Church
  • Rev Michael Elliott, Anglican Priest
  • Rev Richard Tucker, Anglican Priest
  • Stephen Henriques, Spiritual Leader - Jewish Community in Jamaica
Journalism and Media
  • Francois St Juste - General Manager, FAME FM
  • Dahlia Harris - Newscaster
  • Keriann Lee - Former Editor, TVJ
  • The Hon Hector Wynter OJ, - former Editor, Jamaica Gleaner
  • Simone Clarke-Cooper, Media Personality

Life sciences and medicine
  • Dr Charles Royes - Consultant Surgeon and Senior Lecutuer, University of the West Indies
  • Professor the Hon Hugh Wynter OJ, - Consultant, UHWI
  • Dr Shaun Wynter - Consultant, UHWI
  • Dr. Even Dale Abel MD, MBBS, PhD - Professor of Internal Medicine - Endocrinology and Metabolism, Professor of Biochemistry
  • Dr. Michael Hill BSc, MD Surgeon
  • Professor Ludlow Lawson Douglas OJ CD, MBBS, FRCS, FACS, FICS, JP - Urologist
  • Dr Kirk Thame MBBS, MD, MPhil - Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Military and emergency services
  • Brigadier Dunstan F Robinson OBE ED JP, Chief of Staff, Jamaica Defence Force 1973
  • Colonel Trevor MacMillan CD, JP, Former Senator, Former Minister of National Security, Former Commissioner of Police, Former Colonel Adjutant Quartermaster Jamaica Defence Force
  • Brigadier Rocky R. Meade OD BA (Hons) MA, MMAS, PhD, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, first JDF Officer to obtain an PhD whilst still serving
  • Major Effiom Whyte JP - first Commanding Officer, Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing
  • Major Richard Reese JP,Commissioner of Customs and former Commissioner of Corrections
Politics and law
  • The Most Sir Florizel Glasspole ON KCMG KCVO CD, Governor General of Jamaica 1973-1991
  • Norman W. Manley, M.M., QC, National Hero, Chief Minister of Jamaica (1955–1959), Premier of Jamaica (1959–1962).
  • The Most Honorable Edward Seaga ON PC LLB(Hon), Prime Minister of Jamaica 1980-1989
  • His Excellency Courtney Rattray, Jamaica's Ambassador to the Republic of China
  • K.D. Knight - former Minister of National Security
  • Nicholas Dujon, Consul General to Belize
  • Amy Jacques Garvey, wife of The Most Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey National Hero
  • The Honorable Patrick Rousseau OJ, Managing Partner Myers, Fletcher and Gordon
  • Peter Goldson - Secretary - Jamaica Rhodes Scholarship Committee, Partner - Myers, Fletcher & Gordon
  • The Hon Rev Dr Carmen Stewart, OJ, CD, JP - former Custos Rotulorum St Andrew
  • The Hon Rev Sophia Azan, CD, JP Custos Rotulorum St Catherine
  • The Hon Ramon Alberga QC, OBE Former President - Cayman Law Society, Former Vice President Jamaica Law Society, Past President - Commonwealth Lawyers Association
  • The Honorable Keble Munn, OJ, former Minister of Agriculture and Minister of National Security.

Headmasters of Wolmer's Boys' School

  • Albert Dews, Esq. 1895-1901
  • William Cowper, Esq. 1901-1915
  • F.M. Peachell, Esq. 1915-1917
  • Rev. William Simms 1917-1919
  • Sir Reginald Murray 1920-1933
  • Sir Philip Sherlock 1933-1938
  • Rev Lewis Davidson 1939-1942
  • J.R. Bunting, Esq. 1943-1949
  • Dr. Simpson 1950-1953
  • Major Norman Jackson 1953-1964
  • H.N. Walker, Esq. 1964-1966
  • Dr. Donald Bogle 1966-1971
  • Richard Morris, Esq. 1971-1978
  • Gilbert Smith, Esq. 1978-1979 (acting)
  • E.Coleridge Barnett 1979-1998
  • Mrs DeAnn Robb 1998-2002 (acting)
  • Dave Myrie, Esq. 2002-2008
  • Dr Walton Small 2008–present


There are seven houses at Wolmer's Boys' School:

  • Ellis Wolfe (Blue)
  • William Crosse(Red)
  • Thomas Harrison (Gold)
  • William Patterson(Green)
  • Edward Hanna(Purple)
  • Sir Florizel Glasspole(White)
  • Dr Ludlow Moodie(Orange)

There are four houses at Wolmer's Preparatory and Pre-School:

  • Skempton(Blue)
  • Alberga(Red)
  • Bloomfield(Green)
  • Moody(Yellow)

There are six houses at Wolmer's Trust High School for Girls

  • Forbes(Yellow)
  • Murray(Purple)
  • Cowper(Green)
  • Barrows(Blue)
  • Howson(Red)
  • Hollar(Orange)


The nickname "the Maroons" is based on the school's official colours of Maroon & Gold.


  1. ^ "Directory of Public Educational Institutions" (pdf). Ministry of Education, Jamaica. 10 October 2005. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  2. ^ " British pupils sent to Jamaican school", BBC News, 11 March 2002
  3. ^ "Woolmers' Boys - School History", Wolmer's Schools, 2003.
  4. ^ "Register of Jamaican Rhodes Scholars". 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "West Indies a small world of cricketing connections", Scyld Berry, The Daily Telegraph, 15 March 2004

External links

  • Aerial view of the schools
  • Official site
  • [1]
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