About Us

Haile High

…that the small voices may be heard

Kali gazed at the portrait of Haile Selassie glowing softly in the red lights of the editing suite. He was in a room in Jamaica recovering his health after a close-shave by the “reaper”… now what? A gentle breeze spirited the curtains as the night air sighed through the room. “Knowledge is a treasure that must be grasped.” Selassie’s words on education came back to Kali. There sat his computer. It was hooked to the Internet. Why not start a school and let some of the small voices be heard?

Thus was born the Haile Selassie Iniversity of Higher Reason. Haile High as it is known in Jamaica was developed as a school to teach computer skills to the handicapped and economically disadvantaged children in Jamaica. It began in 2000 with a single student who was interested in learning, and willing to pay for her knowledge by pumping tap water through the school’s filtration system. From this humble beginning Haile High is now in its fifth year with an average attendance of 12 students at each session. Free of tuition.

Seeing the need expressed by our first student, Haile High’s founder, Alessandro Macone (Kali) envisioned a system where each student would become a teacher. Thus perpetuating the acquisition of skills to help their peers in their current educational pursuits…insuring that one day each will find higher education or successful employment.

The first difficulty was getting the children interested enough in computers to get them to attend classes regularly. In a country where computers are totally unavailable to the poor and their children, the filling of this educational void was a very new idea. To generate interest, Haile High offered swimming lessons at Doctor’s Cave Beach Club before class. Learning to swim was great fun. It was heartening to watch the students gaining confidence in themselves as they played together in the water. Swimming has become a valuable and favorite part of the curriculum.

After swimming the students take a van up to the school at The Cottontree. Before settling down to work at the computer though, empty tummies need to be filled. Hunger is a great distraction. Kali says, “the only thing you can teach an empty belly is how to growl.

As the school grew, the difficulty of children taking time off from chores at home to attend the school on a Saturdays became another challenge. Again Haile High rose to the occasion by offering the incentive of transportation reimbursement for those students who are teaching other students. The goal of each student being a teacher was finally realized.

The success of the whole program can be seen in the faces of its students - swimming, eating, and studying. Haile High provides more than computer training…these children are now surfing the Internet and the world it opens…a place of infinite ideas and opportunities.

Haile High Today and in the Future

Since its inception, over 35 students ages 7 – 52 have attended classes at Haile High. The school is housed in a multi-level three room suite at The Cottontree on Queen’s Drive in Montego Bay, Jamaica . The computer lab currently has space for 10 computer stations networked together to facilitate instruction and improve operating skills. Our computer equipment is purchased in the US at yard sales and surplus computer stores as well as donations from friends. We found shipping too time consuming and costly so each piece of equipment is hand carried to Jamaica.

The computers are PC’s with Windows ’98 or newer; all have word processing systems. All our computers have CD drive so we can install a Mavis Beacon typing program as well as study guides for all elementary and high school classes. These educational programs are available on a variety of subjects was well as encyclopedias and maps. Currently one computer is connected to the Internet but all students have access to it through the network, and regularly email Queen Sam in the US for help they can’t find elsewhere. In addition, students can do research for their regular school homework under the guidance of their teachers.

The need for help in English became apparent as students attempted to write letters and frame inquiries on the World Wide Web. In response, Haile High is introducing an English Composition course this year. To see the results of this program check out the Comments section of the HaileHigh.com

Haile High Makes a Difference

There are few thrills greater than seeing a child learn, whether it be to swim or how to read. At Haile High we are blessed of these visions and to live these wondrous times. Each challenge results in lessons learned, and lives changed. It is indeed an honor to be a part of opening a new world to young minds.

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