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Alpha Boys School
Alpha Boys School : A Mission of Mercy

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Alpha Boys School : A Mission of Mercy
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Alpha :  The Beginning

History does not recall the exact date when the Alpha Orphanage was opened to boys, but it is thought to be sometime around 1883.  Originally, boys occupied a temporary wooden building east of the Convent.  After a fire destroyed the building where the girls were housed, the boys were moved to the area on which the present School is situated.
 
At that time, the boys spend half day in school, and the rest of the day doing chores.  They had to produce because there was no source of income except for donations.  Not to work meant not eating.
 
As the numbers increased, the Sister Jessie Ripoll and her 2 assistants applied to the Government of Jamaica for monetary assistance.  They also invited the Sisters of Mercy from Bedmondsey, England, to come to Jamaica to join them in their work of Mercy.
 
On August 20, 1890, the Jamaican Government gave its approval and permission to register the institution as an 'Industrial School' and allotted a contribution of four shilling and eight pence per week per boy.  There were 12 boys in the programme at that time.  In December of that same year, 4 Sisters of Mercy arrived in Jamaica from England.  A few months later, the 3 Jamaican Sisters were received into the order of the Sisters of Mercy.
 
Throughout the years since then, many sisters both Jamaican and many other nationalities, have worked tirelessly and unselfishly to build Alpha Boys School.  The focus on teaching the older boys a trade has developed the main programmes at Alpha :  The Printery, The Woodwork Department, The Tailoring Department, and perhaps what Alpha has become most well-known for, The Alpha Boys Band.  Many musicians, renowned in the development of Jamaican music, have been associated with Alpha.  Many members of the Jamaica Defence Force Military Band have come from Alpha.  Wherever there is music, Alpha's representatives can be found be it on the Continent, in the U.S.A., or here in the Caribbean.

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From the beginning to the present - over one hundred years of unbroken service to the people of Jamaica, Alpha Boys School has strived to live up to the School's Motto "Upward and Onward".

The Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica

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Jessie Ripoll

In May 1880, Jessie Ripoll, the daughter of a French mother and a Portuguese father, lifted the latch of the gate to a 40-acre property she had purchased with her own money and contributions from friends. 
 
With her were two women who were committed to helping Jessie in her work with the poor.  Holding tightly to her hand was a little girl who was soon to be homeless no longer.  Jessie named the property 'Alpha', and this was the beginning of the work of the Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica.
 
Jessie Ripoll and her companions followed the teachings of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and joined the order in 1890.
 
Today the Sisters of Mercy are still running schools and institutions throughout Jamaica.  Infant and Primary schools, a High School, Trade Training Centres, and 2 residential institutions for homeless and delinquent boys.  Sisters working here are from Jamaica, England, Ireland, Malta, United States, Canada, Belize, and New Zealand.
 
Sisters of Mercy vow to serve the poor, the sick, and the uneducated through a wide range of ministries and professions.  Their congregation is one of the largest in the world - spread throughout 21 countries beyond the United States - and widely throughout the U.S.