Mon | Mar 19, 2018

St Catherine students receive back-to-school support

Published:Monday | August 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Custos of St Catherine, the Rev Jeffrey McKenzie (centre), interacts with children who have received grant support from the Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation to assist in their school preparations. Sharing the moment is the executive director of the foundation, Pauline Gregory-Lewis (third left).
Custos of St Catherine, the Rev Jeffrey McKenzie, makes a presentation to Shankay Atkinson, who will be attending the Jonathan Grant High School in September.

Nine children from communities in St Catherine, seven of whom will be entering high school in September, have benefitted from assistance in their school preparations.

The Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment Foundation (PAEF) handed out grants to the children during a function last week at the Social Development Commission's (SDC) offices in Spanish Town.

Executive director of the foundation, Pauline Gregory-Lewis, explained that this was the second year of support to students.

Last year, four grants totalling $60,000 were provided to students from the McAuley and Old Harbour primary schools.

"This year, we have seven new grantees from Davis, Old Harbour and Old Harbour Bay primary schools, and two of those who received last year are returning students who performed exceptionally well during their first year of high school. They attend the Immaculate Conception and St Catherine High schools," she informed.

Gregory-Lewis said the foundation has committed to assisting these students as long as they maintain a B+ average throughout high school.

For Immaculate Conception High student, Tyhecka Walters, the help from the PAEF is a "welcomed relief".

"They helped me last year and again this year. I am very grateful," she said.

Tyhecka's mother, Ann-Marie Wright, also expressed gratitude. "I thank them for helping my daughter and other children and I hope that they continue to do good work," she said.

Vice-principal at Old Harbour Primary, George Goode, lauded the PAEF for its support to the children, noting that the assistance "will impact lives positively".

Custos of St Catherine, the Rev Jeffrey McKenzie, who was the guest speaker at the presentation ceremony, also hailed the gesture by the PAEF.


He charged the children to do well in school so that they can make a valuable contribution to the society.

"Be disciplined, be focused, and be determined to achieve your full potential. Embrace opportunities, go to school, and learn well. Don't waste time," he advised them.

The PAEF is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2014 with a mandate to empower vulnerable persons in St Catherine and contribute to community development.

It provides an endowment programme to assist students moving from primary to high school; assists needy students at the primary level with uniforms; provides a breakfast feeding programme for early childhood and primary schools and basic food packs to indigent persons in select communities.