Sun | Sep 15, 2019

One computer 'a big start' for Essex Hall Primary - Principal overjoyed at receiving D&G Foundation grant

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Maxine Lewis, principal of Essex Hall Primary School in St Andrew, shows an outdated desktop computer that no longer works during a tour of the computer lab last week.
Maxine Lewis, principal of Essex Hall Primary School in St Andrew, shows a section of the school bathroom under construction.

Maxine Lewis, principal of the Essex Hall Primary School in St Andrew, reached out in desperation to the Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation for assistance to purchase a desktop computer for the institution but admitted that she wasn't very hopeful.

Therefore, when she got a call that she was among 56 beneficiaries who received a share of a $5.6 million grant as part of D&G's 100th anniversary celebrations in 2018, it was very difficult for her to suppress her joy.

Lewis explained that the school, which has a population of 56 students, only has access to her personal laptop as they have not been able to purchase computers over the years.

"The office doesn't have a computer. There is a little library and computer room that is here, and we don't have any computers. So for me, this is a good thing because for test papers and letters to be typed, it will assist us greatly," she said.




"The children don't have anything to use other than my computer, and most of the time, we have to be very careful because the laptop is more delicate. So for me, a desktop will be more suitable to use, and even for the children, it will be more convenient. There's a teacher that uses her phone, but when you call the students before the phone, that is hardly of any value."

The principal said that though the grant of $100,000 would only enable them to purchase one computer for now, they were grateful nonetheless.

"We need more than one, but this is a big start. You wouldn't even understand how I felt overjoyed," she said.

The principal indicated that they would remain consistent in providing a rounded education for her students. She said, too, that despite the many hurdles they continued to encounter, students had shown growth.

"If you notice, my school doesn't have even one vendor at the gate because the children don't have the money to buy even a candy from anybody. There's a lady who used to come with candies in her bottle, but it wasn't feasible because they don't have the money. So I really try my best with them," Lewis said.

"We don't really get what Jamaica would call the brighter ones, but we really push them and try to transform them into their best self. I come here from 6:30 in the mornings to 4:30 in the evenings at no extra charge just to ensure that they grasp the concepts. Last year (Grade Six Achievement Test - GSAT), we got some good passes - Queen's, Merl Grove, Holy Childhood (high schools) - so we are climbing."