Digicel STAR School 'Buss' packs St William Grant Park
Not even the much-needed rain could stop the Digicel-STAR 'School Buss Fair' back-to-school fair held in downtown Kingston on Saturday.
The event saw more than 8,000 eager parents and children file into the St William Grant Park to take full advantage of the free health checks, haircuts, teeth cleaning, and other services associated with the back-to-school period.
Some parents also got a lucky break through the five $10,000 scholarships provided by Pepsi and additional scholarships valued at $20,000 courtesy of the Digicel-STAR 'School Buss' scholarship fund.
One such recipient was Kasean Dacres, who will be going into grade eight at the Oberlin High School.
"I am very happy that I won a scholarship. I spent $40 and buy a STAR and now I am going to be able to go to school for the year. I'm very happy about this. Big up STAR, Digicel, and all the sponsors for this!" said Kasean.
During the event, Portmore Dental Services provided teeth-cleaning services while Vivo Health Services provided doctors.
Kamal Powell, senior sponsorship manager at Digicel, was impressed with the results.
"Eighty-eight boys got haircuts, over 150 children got their teeth cleaned, and numerous persons got medical check-ups, so we know that the 'School Buss' was not only successful from a brand perspective, but also very beneficial to our customers," Powell said.
dancing and laughter
On the entertainment side of things, hosts Badda Bling, Terri Karelle Reid of The Gleaner, and Digicel Brand Ambassador Ms Kitty kept the crowd rocking, laughing, and dancing.
Through onstage activities such as a quiz and a spelling bee competition, several students walked away with brand-new tablets, Sangster's book vouchers, and Kingston Bookshop vouchers.
Entertainment was also provided by dancehall artistes Chi Ching Ching, Tifa, and Ding Dong.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who was in attendance, not only endorsed the event, but also pleaded with the parents present to take care of their children.
"Treat them right. I am going to beg of you that you take care of the children," Simpson Miller said. "Let us give true meaning to the African proverb 'It takes a village to raise a child'. All the adults in the community should look out for each child and not just your son or daughter."
Dwayne Gordon, editor of THE STAR, said: "The fair was a huge success, not only based on the turnout, but largely, in part, because of our wonderful sponsors. So many products and services were free of cost. Our aim was to give the people of downtown Kingston help with the expenses associated with the season, and this would not have been possible without our kind sponsors."
At the end of the fair, more than 5,000 packages, including school bags, books, water bottles, and stationery, were given to the children present.