Hooray for a Hiace
In an initiative to make a valuable, enduring contribution to Jamaica's education sector, earlier this year, Toyota Jamaica Limited (TJAM) orchestrated a competition among primary and high schools islandwide, with the prize being a brand-new 16-seater 2014 Toyota Hiace bus.
"Our managing director, Tom Connor, decided to assist the education industry this year as part of our corporate social responsibility. Mr Connor believes that the education sector is one that is in need of assistance and believes that making transportation easier for at least one school would be a great start," TJAM's assistant marketing manager, Tracy-Ann Fletcher, said.
At the end of the competition, it was Padmore Primary School from Red Hills, rural St Andrew, which won the new set of wheels. As expected, the school community is ecstatic. "It will benefit the school by transporting the kids to and from the school, importantly. Some of the kids live very far from the school, so it has to transport them back and forth," a school representative of Padmore Primary said.
Broughton Primary and Victoria Town Primary were awarded $150,000 and $100,000 respectively.
Based on the elation and the response that greeted the Toyota Jamaica Team on entering the school with the bus, another competition could be in the offing come next year. "I do believe that we will be repeating this initiative next year. From the experience this year, we realised the overwhelming need of our schools, and if Toyota Jamaica can assist with at least one of those needs, we see it in the step in the right direction," Fletcher explained.
Toyota Jamaica has also donated one year of free servicing of the vehicle and will brand the bus with the school information. Jamaica National General Insurance (JNGI) will be contributing one year's free insurance for the Hiace.
In making their submissions, the schools were required to state the reasons for needing a bus. Some went as far as to use videos and songs to illustrate their need.
'Bus Di School'
Dubbed 'Bus Di School' the competition, launched in June 2014, saw approximately 112 entries from across the island, all going for the $6 million vehicle.
The entries were narrowed down to 10 - Broughton Primary in Westmoreland; Foga Road High School, May Pen Primary and Bustamante High (Clarendon); Operation Success (St Elizabeth); Innswood High and Kensington Primary (St Catherine); Pembroke Hall High (St Andrew); Victoria Town Primary (Manchester) and Padmore Primary (Red Hills, St Andrew).
Details on the finalists were then posted on the Toyota Jamaica's Facebook page enabling the public to vote, for 20 per cent of the overall scoring.