Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Ardenne Alumni Foundation to be launched Saturday

Published:Friday | October 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Cliff Hughes (left), of Power 106's programme 'Cliff Hughes on Line', in animated discussion on Tuesday at Ardenne High School with Jacqueline Pinto (centre), acting vice-principal; and Audrey Chin of the Ardenne Alumni Foundation (AAF).The AAF is spearheading a $30-million project to solarise the school to reduce its electricity bill within two years as well as initiate other projects at the school. The official launch is set for Saturday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. Contributed

Tomorrow, past students of Ardenne High School will officially launch the Ardenne Alumni Foundation (AAF) with a dinner at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

The AAF is an approved charitable organisation. It is empowered under sections Two and 17 of the Charities Act 2013 to request and to receive donations to be used exclusively for the advancement of the welfare of present and future generations of students, teaching faculty and administrators at Ardenne High School. Chair of the AAF, Florence Darby, said a group of alumni wanted to give back to the institution, hence the foundation's creation.

"And we needed to ensure that there was this tradition of excellence that was maintained and that you needed money to do so," she said. "Finally, we have now done all the legal work." The AAF's first project is to solarise the school as Ardenne has an average monthly energy bill in excess of $1 million. Fellow alumni, Mark Thomas, said a group of past students led by engineer, Jennings Gordon, CEO of the Gormann Corporation, have been leading an energy committee to explore options to bring affordable energy options to the school. Gormann Corporation specialises in energy solutions for companies. Thomas said Gordon has committed to waive his professional fees and has donated a solar light to the campus.

"We are planning to put in LED lights throughout the school as well to do some solar panels," said Darby. Thomas said a comprehensive solarisation plan has been written by Gordon, who guides the foundation in its plans. The solarisation project plans to focus first on the high energy consumption areas of the school such as the computer labs. Ultimately, Ardenne plans to sell energy back to the national grid.

The dinner is a launch pad for other initiatives of the AAF, including support of the school's student-welfare programmes. The AAF will also commit funds to bursaries and scholarships, and key infrastructural projects such as constructing and improving classrooms, laboratories, and libraries.

"We want to make sure the facilities in the school are improved," said Darby. "We want to ensure we have a sports programme going. We have a holistic centre for students ... so it's ongoing, and we welcome ideas from other alumni as well." Thomas said patrons could expect fantastic performances by some recent students at the dinner.

"Ardenne has a fantastic musical/singing tradition, and we will be having the great Ana Strachan in cabaret," he said. Early contributors to the AAF will be honoured at the event. Professor Marvin Reid, director of the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit at University of the West Indies, Mona, a recipient of the Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence for Research, will be guest speaker.

For more information on the dinner, contact the Ardenne Alumni Association via email: ardennealumni@gmail.com, or call at (876) 461-8726.