Christel House Jamaica (CHJ) will open in September and Principal Alicia Francis will know all the students in the new school. For the past several weeks, she’s been actively recruiting in communities, going door to door to safely meet children and parents at their homes.The coronavirus has made recruiting a challenge. Instead of group meetings, Alicia and the CHJ team are going into local neighborhoods, visiting parents and potential students where they live. For Alicia, meeting the families and introducing the benefits of what Christel House has to offer starts by establishing a relationship and building trust. “They believe Christel House is too good to be true,” Alicia says. The community visits were sobering. “We found an area where you had to cross a gully to get to the families,” she says. “They were in these dilapidated homes – in this day and age, I could not believe these kinds of homes still existed,” says Alicia. “We found children that had never been to school. The parents did not know they had an option for their children until Christel House.”
Christel House Jamaica will now open October 5 with 180 students in kindergarten through Grade 2. Each year thereafter an additional 60 kindergarten students will be admitted. The high school phase will begin construction in 2024 and the school will grow organically until it reaches capacity at Grade 13.