Champs School Profile – Vere Technical High School

Vere standout, Veronica Campbell, weeps with joy during the medal ceremony at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Vere Technical High School has won the most Girls Champs titles since the ladies got their own show in 1957 – 22 in total. The school even maintained a 15-year stranglehold on the trophy from 1979 to 1993 – one more than Kingston College‘s legendary winning streak in Boys Champs. Here are five more facts about the school’s Champs record.

  1. Ben Francis, for whom a rural schoolboy football trophy is named, was assigned by the Ministry of Education to become the founding principal of the new secondary school in Clarendon. He immediately set about establishing a sports programme, with input from KC’s Sydney ‘Foggy’ Burrowes and Carl March. Obviously, he went on to create a legacy of athletics supremacy.
  2. Two years later, Vere was allowed to enter sports run by Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) and the Games Mistresses Association (GMA). The school took its first hold on the trophy in 1967.
  3. The Vere takeover in 1979 was led by none other than Merlene Ottey, a transfer from Rusea’s High School. She had intended to enroll at Manchester High School after completing five years at Rusea’s but that didn’t work out and she landed at Vere. In her first season at the Clarendon school, she broke the class 1 100m and 200m records.
  4. Vere has never won Boys Champs and has been without a Champs trophy since 2002.
  5. Jamaica’s women’s 4x100m gold medal-winning team in the 1991 World Championships was an all-Vere affair, featuring Dahlia Duhaney, Beverly McDonald, Merlene Frazer and Ottey. The school has produced a number of international medallists, including Lacena Golding-Clarke, Deon Hemmings and the now-husband and wife team of Omar Brown and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Source: Champs 100: A Century of Jamaican High School Athletics 1910-2010 by Hubert Lawrence