Mt. Alvernia High School began in 1925 as St. James Academy, a small boarding school, and was soon after renamed Mt. Alvernia Academy. It was established by the Allegany Franciscan Sisters to fill the need for the Cambridge University Junior Examinations and the London Royal School of Music Examinations. The number of students attending classes increased steadily over the years.
In 1939 Mother Antoninus, OSF succeeded Mother Theophane as Principal. The school population was only twenty-seven. In 1943 a centre for the Music examinations of the Royal Schools of Music was established at Mt. Alvernia and soon after, the school was considered capable of presenting candidates for the Cambridge School Certificate Examinations.
In 1953, Sr. Eloine Marie became Principal of the school and immediately began working towards having Mt. Alvernia established as a grant-in-aid school. The curriculum was further enlarged and qualified teachers with degrees were employed in order to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education. Finally in August 1959, Mt. Alvernia became a grant-aided school with an enrollment of 71. Since then, the school population increased even more rapidly and new blocks of classrooms were erected to keep pace with the growing numbers.
In 1971 Sr. Joan Clare was appointed Principal and over the next fifteen years the enrolment increased from 347 to 1,516. A new wing consisting of three floors was built and a third floor was later added to the old wing. A few notable achievements over the years are as follows:
1960 First Graduation
1966 Became Examination Centre for Cambridge “O” Level examinations
1968 Sixth Form established.
1970 Commercial Department was expanded
1972 French added to the curriculum
1979 Social Studies added to the curriculum
1983 German added to the curriculum
1986 Track Team won two (2) trophies at Girls Champs (Most Imporved and Most Dsicipline)
1988 Computer Studies added to the curriculum
Hurricane Gilbert destroyed Teachers Hostel, Grade 7 block
MAHS Band sent to Belize as guest of the Governor for Independence Celebration
1992 Mrs Margerette Vernon appointed Vice Prinicpal
1993 New Grade 7-9 curriculum for Social Studies, Science, Language Arts and Career Education
1995 Sister Angella Harris appointed principal
2000 75th Anniversary Celebrations
Miss M. Beckford and Mrs S. Powell ask to act as Vice Principal
Construction of a new computer lab to hold 23 computers at a cost of $2.1 million
Construction of Hall Of Fame which was dedicated to Mrs M. Vernon during
75th Anniversary celebration, dedication of New Wing to Sister Eloine Marie Palomino and dedication of Cafeteria/Auditorium to Sister Joan Clare Chin Loy
2001 Schools first volleyball team is 5th out of 12 school in the island
2002 Sports Day Held at Jarrett Park for the first time
2004 Library converted to 70% electronic after Hurricane Ivan
2005 Miss Carmen Hall first Principal who is not a OFS
2009 First male Vice Principal Mr. Richard Thompson
2012 Sixth Form Program Revived
2014 Sixth Form, Art Room, Technical Drawing buildings donated by Food for the Poor
2016 Subletting of the Cafeteria to Taste Patty, sixth Form Uniform Changed
Extra-curricular activities have also flourished over the years and students have participated in several inter-schools competitions with success. With the opening of the Montego Bay Community College in 1978 the Sixth Form was closed. French and German have been removed from the curriculum because of an acute shortage of teachers.
Sister Angella Harris was appointed principal in 1995 and continued the heritage of a high level of achievement in academics, sports and the overall development of the school.
Miss Carmen Hall became principal in 2005 and maintained a high academic standard.
In September 2008 Mrs. Therisa Cherian, a Roman Catholic, with a wealth of teaching experience was selected as the principal.
In January 2016 Mrs. Stacey Reynolds, A Roman Catholic, Senior Educator with a wealth of experience and charisma took over the helm of Principal.
The untiring efforts of dedicated members of Staff working with our students ensure that a rich history continues to be written.