Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Miss Kitty cooks up science lab - Spearheads initiative to benefit St Joseph's High School

Published:Tuesday | September 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
File Sheree Martin, senior vice-president, customer and corporate services, JPSCo.
Contributed Khadine 'Miss Kitty' Hylton in an upbeat mood as the objective of providing a science lab for St Joseph's High School on Collins Green Avenue in St Andrew inches closer to fruition.
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Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

St Joseph's High School on Collins Green Avenue, St Andrew, now has a science laboratory, courtesy of Miss Kitty Live and the Miss Kitty Foundation.

A classroom at the school has been converted into a much-needed lab that was officially opened during a ceremony at the school on Friday.

"It is important because of the kids," Khadine 'Miss Kitty' Hylton said, explaining why she embarked on the initiative. "There are students there who have potential but can't actualise that potential because they don't have the outlet."

"We have a lot of artistes, we have a lot of athletes, but we also need scientists, too. And we need to make scientists cool, because we are living in an age where science fuels a lot of things. Even one mind wasted is one mind too many, so I wanted to give the students of St Joseph's a chance to actualise their dreams," Miss Kitty said.

For years, St Joseph has been struggling without a science lab. In 2010, the school achieved some success in the sciences, with students being able to use labs at the University of the West Indies to complete their School Based Assessments (SBA). Since then, however, students at the school have had little access to a lab. Grades fell and students lost interest.

Tanique Deer, head of the St Joseph's Science Department, had outlined the institution's challenges in a letter to the Miss Kitty Live show's producer Tahzna Williams. Williams had scouted the school in late 2013 while in search of a location for the Miss Kitty School Life Tour.

Deer wrote: "With the absence of a lab in our school, we have been seriously struggling to improve on our CSEC passes in both integrated science and human and social biology. The school has to be outsourcing labs so that the students may complete SBAs on time. We have had many failed attempts to source labs for the students as many institutions refuse to accommodate us. Therefore, the CSEC teachers have to make do with the little resources that we have. We would be most grateful for a science lab in our school."

Williams and Miss Kitty were spurred into action and engaged sponsorship support from the JPS Foundation, Sandals Foundation, Berger Paints, Decor Spaces, Carib Cement, Edge Chem Chemicals and Nationwide Radio, to make the school's dream a reality.

"We feel education is the primary building block, the foundation is what children need to advance in life," said Christina Taylor, public relations manager at the Sandals Foundation.

Similar sentiments were shared by Sheree Martin, senior vice-president of customer and corporate services at the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo). "At a school like this that has so many other challenges and resource constraints, the opportunity to assist them to put a basic right in place as far as kids are concerned is something that we had to be a part of," Martin said.