Jamaica spread volleyball in schools


KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 26, 2014 - The Jamaica Volleyball Association (JAVA) is earnestly continuing its drive to have volleyball played routinely in all schools around the country. The effort has yielded noteworthy results at both the primary and secondary school levels, with the growing interest in the sport credited to the efforts of Zone/Parish Coordinators and PE teachers.


Since initiating the JAVA primary-level schools competition in 2010, the competition has grown to almost double the number of high schools participating in the Inter-Secondary Schools Association (ISSA) competition, with over 60 schools participating in the 2013/2014 edition of the competition. 


Westmoreland schools have shown the strongest interest in terms of total number of participants, due mainly to the efforts of Haile Mikael, who initiated a primary school competition in the parish in 2009. Mikael was later appointed as JaVA's Western Regional Coordinator, responsible for the St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and Hanover regions.


Richard Johnson, St Ann Parish Coordinator, has taken the parish from two participating schools in 2011 to 14 in 2013. Ricardo Williams and Andre Neil have driven the effort in St James, while Lester Bernard spearheaded the programme in St Thomas, a parish that has racked up a few volleyball accolades over the past two years. 


JaVA, through its School Development Manager, Warrenton Dixon, is pushing to realise even greater participation, particularly in high schools. Over the past few months over 25 new high and primary-level schools island-wide have expressed interest and are taking steps to participate in volleyball competitions.  "We are really pleased with the increased interest and we are doing what we can, within our resource limitations, to nurture these show of interests," stated Dixon.  


"This is also a good time for them to show interest, so that they can capitalise on the presence of Mr. Augusto Sabbatini, the international volleyball coach visiting us from Brazil.  We have organised a number of two-day coaching clinics at convenient locations around the island between 25 March and 12 April 2014.  The clinics are targeted at PE teachers and coaches at the school level but anyone who wishes to benefit from it can attend as it’s free."