Cowen Hamilton Secondary School a forerunner to Independence
Fifth Company is a small village lying along the Moruga Road.
It was developed in the nineteenth century and became home to the Merikins or ex Marines from the United States of America who arrived in companies and had settled in six different areas.
After almost one century and a half, secondary education was introduced there for the first time by the London Baptist Missionary Society In 1962, the year of our independence,
Missionaries from the Southern Baptist Convention of the United States of America arrived in Trinidad and working together with the local Baptists community they established the Cowen Hamilton Secondary School. CHSS which was born out of the need to advance the opportunities for secondary education of the people of fifth company village and surrounding areas.
The group that led the way to the introduction of secondary education was led by F W Webb, K Charles, T Ayers, and reverends Chapman, Parks and Payne.
The school was named after two persons, one in secular education and the other in religious activities. Cowen was a British missionary and William Hamilton a local Baptist pastor and leader of Fifth Company Baptist church for over forty years
The first sets of thirty four students were housed in the ground floor of a small wooden building donated by Kern Trinidad Oilfields. Initially the school had a small teaching staff of four, led by its principal Rev Eric Pane.
After four successful years as an educational institution CHSS was given assisted status by government and some financial assistance from British Petroleum National Company Limited. When the two wooden buildings became inadequate to meet the needs of the students, concrete structures hen replaced them.
In 50 years CSSS changed its curriculum to provide training for Advanced Level students. This resulted in two students gaining scholarships to universities. One of its distinguished students who graduated from CHSS was Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj. Chief of Trinidad and Tobago Defence Staff
CHSS is now among the outstanding schools in south Trinidad providing secondary education to over 600 students with a staff of 37 trained teachers. Teaching of agricultural Science forms part of the curriculum. "It is an important subject" said it's Principal Marlene Charles who believes that "the school came out of an agricultural background, and the subject itself should reflect the culture and traditions of the area"
In spite of it being a denominational school students have the choice of practising the religion of their choice. "Religious education is taught in a holistic way" said the principal.
Discipline and moral values have contributed to the success of the school" We can boast of having a school with well disciplined children coming from various backgrounds."
As this year's golden jubilee celebrations gets underway, so too are the celebrations of the school. "We are proud children of Trinidad's independence and just as proud for all that we have achieved over the last 50 years." The principal said.
Louis B Homer