Annotto Bay High gets new classrooms
ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary:
Aspiring scholars in the Annotto Bay area of St Mary were celebrating last week, following the completion of four new sixth-form classrooms at their local high school.
As the only learning institution in the area with a sixth-form programme, Annotto Bay High School is poised to become a gateway to further education courses for students throughout St Mary and western Portland.
Vice-principal Trudy-Ann Philp believes the new buildings, donated by the Westmoreland Bridge contractors, the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), will ease overcrowding and help create a more productive learning environment.
She told Rural Xpress: "Even though we have a sixth-form programme, we were short on classrooms, but the two buildings we got from the CHEC will give us four additional classrooms, which is very good for us. It will really make a big difference because now we can take in more students and try to lessen our class sizes a little."
Philp praised local member of parliament (MP) Dr Winston Green for negotiating the
donation from the CHEC and organising 20 volunteers from the local community to spend the day painting and preparing the classrooms.
Philp said: "[Dr Green] came down and painted the building we'll be using for our sixth- form programme. He spent the whole day and was looking at other areas of development and ways he could help with improvements. He has always played a very active role in the life of the school and has contributed to things like CXC payments and the feeding programme."
After the Westmoreland Bridge was completed in 2013, Green persuaded the engineers to leave behind their easy-to-assemble offices on condition that they would be used solely for the purposes of community development and education.
Subsequently, in addition to the classrooms at Annotto Bay High, which cost the MP $650,000 to transport, erect, and paint, three similar constructions have already gone up, courtesy of the CHEC, with four more workspaces due to be assembled shortly.
Green said: "The classrooms at Annotto Bay High were set up almost completely independent of central government. There was a visit by [Education] Minister Thwaites and some commitment to putting up a sixth-form block. I think it should have started last year May. It didn't start, so I just took the initiative and set something up with the local Community Development and Environment Association.
"The Chinese had pulled up their reusable offices and were going to move with them, so I asked, negotiated, and begged, and eventually, they said I could take them if I provided my own transportation. They are buildings that can be broken down and reassembled, and the CHEC was using them on their work sites, so they are very comfortable and sturdy buildings."
He added: "I wanted to get the community involved and for them to buy into what we were doing, so last week, we announced it, and they were very responsive because they are glad to know that finally, there is a sixth-form in the Annotto Bay area."