Renaming of Pares Secondary sparks public contention, but past students say change is appropriate and was recommended

A plan for the renaming of the Pares Secondary School is already causing some contention among residents.

On the weekend, a widely circulated notice advised that the Cabinet has agreed to change the name of the institution to the Cardinal King Secondary School.

At first, many people thought the change was in recognition of the now-retired police officer of the same name.

However, it was later explained that the honour belonged to the Cardinal King who had served as the school’s first principal. He is credited with leading a team of teachers who set the standard for the school, which opened its doors in 1971.

Past students reported that the job had not been an easy one for those staff members, given that children of very different abilities comprised the first student body.

But while King is said to have accomplished great things at the school, an alumnus agrees that more information should have been disseminated, so that the public would be aware of his contributions to education in Antigua and Barbuda.

Amid claims that the name change was approved without consultation with teachers, parents and the wider community, it was reported that past students had lobbied Education Minister Daryll Matthew, and he had taken the matter to the Cabinet.

According to a member of a Pares Secondary alumni association, a review of the school’s operations had been undertaken, with weaknesses identified and remedies proposed.

Among the former was the loss of school pride, which was blamed on “changes in leadership within [a] short period of time.”

Therefore, it was recommended that the school be rebranded, with a school crest introduced and its uniforms redesigned.

According to the sketches seen by REAL News, the female uniform will become a pleated burgundy skirt trimmed in yellow; a white crested shirt; and a burgundy-and-yellow striped tie.

The crest is also in burgundy and yellow and carries the name “Cardinal King Secondary School;” the year it was established; and a hand holding a torch atop an open book. Its banner proclaims “CKSS” and displays the motto “True Knowledge is Light.”