The fourth Digicel Cup Inter-Schools Sporting Clays Tournament shoots off on Sunday at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore with the highest number of competitors to date. As many as 78 shooters drawn from nine schools across the island, including Manchester High, Jamaica College, Campion College, Wolmer’s, Hillel Academy, the American International School of Kingston (AISK), and Sts Peter & Paul Prep. The beginners, or youngest shooters, starting from age nine, will take to the 14-station course at 9 a.m. after which the official opening ceremony will be held. The tournament features 50 targets for all shooters. The top six shooters will compete in the Super Six for the highest overall total and the championship trophy. The Super Six will involve 18 targets. (The super six comprises the six highest scores at the end of the regular stage). A new champion will be crowned this year as Jake Therrien will not be defending his title. According to Khaleel Azan, president of the Jamaica Skeet Club, “it is great to see the increased number of shooters who have registered for the tournament, which has grown significantly since it started in 2013. This year, we have seen a big increase in the female shooters, moving up to 12 from seven last year. All the shooters are well prepared for this year’s Digicel Cup, having competed in several tournaments leading up to this competition. We are expecting a big crowd, including families and friends of the shooters.” Azan also said that the large field augurs well for the sport in Jamaica as the future is secure, with a very good crop of young shooters coming through. The sponsors are Digicel, Wata, Reggae Jammins, Best Dressed Chicken, True Juice, Hawkeye, St Mary’s Banana, Bigga, Tin Grinners Club Jamaica, and Arts & Photo Impressions.
Ninth-grader Johssimar Molina said his parents were proud of him when he received a letter from the school, saying they were all invited to the award party. “They said they wanted to go,” he said. “I was doing really bad when I started this program. Now I’m getting maybe an A or a B.” Classmates Bianca Lopez and German Salazar, both 14, say they are now fearless test-takers when it comes to math. And Yadira Santos, 14, said the invitation to Thursday’s award party meant a lot. “I felt really proud because it’s the first time I got an invitation like this,” she said. District administrators hope to replicate Poly High’s Freshman Centre at dozens of other campuses by introducing small learning environments. Fries-Martinez explained that the Freshman Centre utilizes a “four-times-four” schedule, with students taking four classes each quarter, much like a university system. “It’s extremely important that when students leave middle school, they are very well taken care of in a personalized environment, and Poly High has demonstrated exceptional work,” said Bob Collins, the district’s chief instructional officer for secondary education. “We’re in the process of replicating the program on at least two dozen campuses.” Cohen-Thompson said the key to keeping students in school is connecting with them early in their high school career. “Ninth grade is a rough year for many,” she said. “What we want is everybody focused on their academics. We want everyone who graduates to be thinking of what they want to be after a rich, satisfying educational experience.” Susan Abram, (818) 713-3664 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SUN VALLEY – They got mood pens and pizza, but for the 700 ninth-graders at Francis Polytechnic High School, it was the well-deserved pat on the back that meant the most. The ceremony Thursday night was their reward for studying hard, boosting their grades and – most important – staying in school. “Most of these kids don’t get celebrated,” said Cheryl Cohen-Thompson, coordinator of the campus’s Freshman Centre, a year-old program designed to ease the way between the freshman and sophomore years and lower the dropout rate. “We want them to get a taste of success. We want them to get a good foundation in their academics. We want them to take this success all the way through their high school career.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Nearly 90 percent of the freshmen who participated in last year’s program are now sophomores – an achievement, say administrators, considering that just 71 percent of ninth-graders advanced to the 10th grade in 2003. “It’s been phenomenal because it fills the needs of students by connecting them to this program and to its teachers, and they go into mainstream 10th grade successfully, ” said Poly High Principal Janis Fries-Martinez. With the Los Angeles Unified School District’s dropout rate averaging anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent, the Freshman Centre proves that smaller learning environments can have an impact. More than half of teacher Karie Simpson’s algebra class, part of the Freshman Centre, were invited to Thursday’s award celebration, where parents beamed as their children received a total of 2,100 certificates of achievement in various subjects. “We have certificates for all of them, including students that have perfect attendance or those students who really tried hard and put their best foot forward,” Cohen-Thompson said. “We’re celebrating personal success.”