Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Black River Primary creates 'Garden of Eden'

Published:Saturday | October 20, 2018 | 12:16 AM
Dr Elizabeth Ward (right), chairperson of the Violence Prevention Alliance presents a plaque to Cleon Foster (third right), vice- principal of the Black River Primary School; Shala Barnes (second left) and Sherieka Brown, teachers at the school. Sharing in the moment is Richard Troupe, safety and security coordinator, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information at the Trees for Peace awards ceremony held recently a Prospect Primary School, St Thomas.
A view of the peace garden created by students at the Black River Primary School.
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Black River Primary School emerged the parish champion for St Elizabeth in the Trees for Peace competition organised by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Information, Youth and Culture.

"We worked very hard, and we are proud to have been placed first in the parish and fourth overall in the Trees for Peace competition," said Cleon Foster, vice-principal of the school.

Shala Barnes, a teacher at the school, said it was a school and community effort where students, teachers, parents and members of the community played an integral role in creating their 'Garden of Eden'.

"We started in late June and July cleaning up the area, putting things together, and then, we took the summer break and we went hard at it. Even on weekends. It was fun, and we are happy that we won," Barnes shared.

She said the peace garden is being utilised by the guidance counsellors and students at the school. "The guidance counsellors take students in there from time to time to resolve conflicts and issues. Students even go in there by themselves, and they care for it. We even heard one student caution another student about walking carefully in Garden of Eden," she chuckled.

A pleased Dr Elizabeth Ward, who is chair of the VPA, praised the work of the school in preparing their version of the Garden of Eden. She noted that the provision of such a beautiful and quiet space will go a far way in fostering peace. "We need to keep these green, clean spaces and quiet spaces in our lives," she said.

More than 100 schools entered the competition, with 30 schools creating peace gardens across 12 parishes. The winning school was Prospect Primary School in St Thomas. Naggo Head Infant School in Portmore, St Catherine, placed second, and Holy Family Primary School in Kingston came third and also copped the social-media prize, where it was voted the best peace garden by online followers of the VPA's Instagram and Facebook pages.