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Corporate Hands: Labour for love at New Forest Primary

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2015 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
The entire school will be repainted eventually, but work started with one block and the new colours will reflect those of the school uniform.
This volunteer is focused on levelling the blocks to build a fence at the New Forest Primary, Junior High and Infant School in Manchester on Labour Day.

At the New Forest Primary, Junior High and Infant School, Labour Day focused on repainting the front fence, recreational areas buildings, and continuing the perimeter wall - all signifying a rebranding process as the school seeks to add a high-school component by September.

Principal Arnaldo Allen and board charman Trisha Williams-Singh led some 100 volunteers, including sponsors, teachers, the Peace Corps, skilled labourers, community members, and past and present students, who began to work at 8 a.m. They continued the 264-foot perimeter wall and started a transformational colour change of the school buildings.

Williams-Singh said the comprehensive project could not have moved from planning to execution without the support of corporate Jamaica.

"With the contributions we received, we are able to do more than half a million dollars worth of work today. Hi-Pro donated paint, tools and paint brushes, as well as cash or kind from Digicel, CB Chicken, National, Driftwood Sporting Club, Archie's Hardware, Alpart, JN Fund Managers, Sagicor, Sandals and VIP Attractions.

Williams-Singh said that having watched students travel long distances to a high school, sometimes to their detriment, led them to lobby for high-school status.

"The principal and I lobbied government, presented our plan, showed that we can do it, and now we are in - high school will soon be a reality. We have our teachers and past students' overwhealming support and we are going to be among the top performing schools in Manchester," she said.

Principal Allen expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Education's Region Five office for its support through the process.