New Amsterdam Multilateral turns 40

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The New Amsterdam Multilateral choir entertaining the gathering at the anniversary celebrations

AS the New Amsterdam ‘Multilateral’ Secondary School celebrates its 40th year, and having withstood the test of time, it remains the only ‘Multi’ to offer tutoring for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination at the sixth form level.In addition, the Berbice based leaning institution has created many a first, during the four decades, amongst which are: producing the region’s top performers, and copping of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Awards in Technology, Business Studies, and Agriculture Science.

Former New Amsterdam Multilateral Headteacher, Elton Lewis
Former New Amsterdam Multilateral Headteacher, Elton Lewis

Further, the former New Amsterdam Government Secondary School, is the local pioneer of the Theatre Arts programme locally, and for its non-academic achievement, the school’s choir won the National Choir Festival. Several accolades were also received by students in the area of sports.
Former principal Mr. Elton Lewis, recounting the journey during a special service on Wednesday last, said the decision to establish the school was made by the then Government, to have across the country multilateral schools. This saw the birth of the institution on September 15, 1975.
As it was then, the school started with 170 first form students and with less than 10 teachers which formed the core. Then it became New Amsterdam Government Secondary School, and after some time it was christened New Amsterdam Multilateral.
But, something very dramatic happened that caused the school to grow; the fact that forms two to sixth comprise around 400 plus students who were at Berbice High, and who joined the first formers.
Recalling the history through the decades, he said in the beginning (1975 to 1985), the school, ranking at the top in Berbice, established itself under the leadership of the late Ms. Joyce Thomas, a team leader who brought the school to prominence.
In the second chapter, two headmasters, namely Messers Stanley Johnson and Albert Bobb, served consecutively to advance the name of the school.
The third chapter was a personal journey, from  1992 to 2004, which period was very challenging…one of the main challenges was the infrastructure  of the school, which  was falling to pieces, but was subsequently rehabilitated,  leading to the current fourth decade.
In her presentation, which forced the lower-level students to be rapt listeners, President of the Parent/Teachers Association Ms. Jacqueline Murray, a former student, noted that it was one’s attitude and not one’s aptitude that will determine the altitude.

Two first-formers prepare to stick the anniversary cake
Two first-formers prepare to stick the anniversary cake

“You have the opportunity to be anything you want to be. After all, you are at the New Amsterdam Multilateral School where there are multi-talented people. Do not allow anyone tell you otherwise….Be the best at what you do….let there be no room for mediocrity…However, it’s your attitude and not your aptitude that will get you to your altitude,” she concluded.
Currently, the school is governed by a Board of Governors and has Mr. Narinedatt Dhanraj, as Principal.
On September 15, 1975  the then New Amsterdam Government Secondary School  came into existence, following the vision of the late President  Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham who, aided by the Canadians, decided to create an educational institution that would  cater  for  the all-round development of Guyanese children.

By Jeune Bailey Vankeric