Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Out of shame, some Porus kids dodge online classes - Tablets pour in for standout mom

Published:Monday | October 26, 2020 | 12:12 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Businessman Donrol Whyte donates two tablets to Acia Wills to assist with her three children accessing online classes. In a story published on Friday, October 23, Wills, who lives in Porus, Manchester, described how she juggled a single device among her ch
Businessman Donrol Whyte donates two tablets to Acia Wills to assist with her three children accessing online classes. In a story published on Friday, October 23, Wills, who lives in Porus, Manchester, described how she juggled a single device among her children for virtual learning.

PORUS, Manchester:

Acia Wills’ heart-tugging story of juggling a single cell phone among her three children during online classes has jolted a couple into rewarding the 39-year-old mother with two tablets for her dedication.

But despite the intervention of the good Samaritans, a gaping vacuum still exists for other students in the eastern Manchester town of Porus who have been displaced by the shuttering of schools because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Principal of Porus Infant School, Everton Tyndale, said that the parents of most children at his institution have found a way to make online classes work but acknowledged that more than 30 students do not have functional devices. That lack has driven some families not to register their children to avoid facing administrators out of a sense of shame.

“When I go into the communities, the children hide, and the parents hide, and we know they have a genuine need,” Tyndale told The Gleaner on Sunday.

Those actions stand in contrast, however, to Wills’, who has struggled to make do with her cell phone for all her kids.

But courtesy of businessman Donrol Whyte, instead of transcribing work from her phone for her children between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily and making special arrangements with teachers to facilitate Zoom classes, Wills can now have her trio use their own devices under her supervision.

The story, published in the October 23, 2020, edition of The Gleaner, melted the heart of Whyte’s fiancée, Unique Taylor, who teaches at Porus Primary School, and she brought the story to his attention.

Whyte, who, along with Taylor, operates a book and stationery store and chemical shop in Porus, said he was moved by Wills’ commitment and decided to help her despite the hit his business has taken from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I had to cut two staff members because the revenue wasn’t coming in, but this is something I had to do ... ,” he said.

“My ultimate wish is that this pandemic leaves us so we can have students who need their one-on-one learning back in school because this online teaching and learning is very hard for teachers and students,” said Whyte.

A grateful Wills expressed surprise at the support from the couple, saying she was only showing a mother’s love.

“When Mr Whyte reached out to me, I felt really good, and my kids are also happy, so that makes me extra happy ... ,” Wills told The Gleaner on Sunday.

“The comments on social media really brought me joy, too, and not even that lady who asked how much they paid me to ‘tell a lie’ could steal my joy.”

As the support continues to pour in, Wills has pledged to assist other students at the schools where her children are enrolled.

Meanwhile, Tyndale said that once he gets additional tablets, he will find a way to supply needy parents with Internet data and books.

“If it means that I can add the school’s Wi-Fi password on the tablets, then I will do so. All I will ask the parents to do is to pass by in the morning, download the work, have their children do it, then pass by in the evening so they can send it,” the Porus Infant principal said.

To assist the institution, Everton Tyndale may be contacted at (876) 421-2973.