“It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days.” -Isabel Waxman.
Perched 2,560 feet on the peak of the Santa Cruz Mountains in one of the remotest sections of Jamaica is the oldest all-boys boarding high school in the Caribbean; Munro College, with a commanding and enviable view of the horizon, the Caribbean Sea, and a magnificent sunset, where it is quite possible that Leonardo da Vinci would have abandoned painting the Mona Lisa midstream if ever he was distracted by the view from this city.
Established in 1856 on 150 acres, this institution, over the years, has earned the enviable reputation of being one of Jamaica’s most prestigious citadels of learning.
It is the alma mater for several Jamaican icons and dignitaries, having been the high school of choice for a former Jamaican prime minister, the brother and son of another former prime minister, government officials, parliamentarians, Rhodes scholars, lawyers, professors, doctors, and numerous others. Don’t be fooled; it’s not about the crème de la crème, as here you will find boys from various backgrounds.
In the modern world, one could easily be intimidated by its appearance and its defiance to civilization, but those who made it in now live a life of gratitude for having been there and appreciate their privileged position of being a part of this fine heritage.
It’s a Munro story that has never been told, until Garfield “Garry” Whyte felt impelled to immortalize his seven years of high school in this memoir, Nostalgia from: A City Set Upon a Hill.
He boasts about his life in this city that started with a dream to be numbered among the best and then living that dream, which undoubtedly defines one’s identity beyond the gates. At Munro, good discipline always competed with academics, but in the end, they were both first in their lives. In many respects, an outsider may think this was a penal institution, but those who made it in are proud that outside those gates, they can now thrive versus merely survive, as the lessons they were taught went way beyond academics, making them the proud beneficiaries of what that archaic and remote, yet unique environment had to offer them.
Boarding school offered its challenges, but there are innumerable and memorable treasured moments when boys were boys, and even when they become men, they have allowed the lives they lived there to reign supreme in their memories.
Nostalgia from: A City Set upon a Hill is nostalgia in its purest form.