St Catherine, Clarendon communities benefit from treat
The thought of making back-to-school plans is generally met with stress and uncertainty for many parents who have no idea where the first dollar will come from to send their children back to school.
It is, therefore, little wonder why so many parents, students, and even teachers in Old Harbour, St Catherine, and from refinery communities in Clarendon were in high spirits and filled with gratitude earlier this week when energy company New Fortress Energy awarded students with much-needed support to go back to school.
“This is such a great help. I appreciate it so much, especially the voucher that will help to get some of her books,” said Terri-Ann Edwards, a single mother who was close to tears when her daughter, Amonda Scully, from Old Harbour Bay Primary, collected her package.
“Generally, I wouldn’t have bought anything, even up to this stage. That’s why I’m so grateful for this because I was really worried about finding the money to do everything.
“She’s going to grade six in September, and she’s doing extremely well in school. I’m so proud. Her average is 90 per cent, and I encourage her in every way I can to always do her homework and her projects on time, work hard, and always do her best,” Edwards continued, beaming with pride.
Edwards described her daughter as rounded. “She said she wants to be a nurse and an actor. She represented her school at the JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) Festival and was recognised for stand-up comedy. I just want her to be the best at whatever career she chooses, and I’m always here to support her,” she ended.
Moisha Johnson, whose daughter attends Hayes Primary in Clarendon, expressed similar gratitude for the fair.
“This is not the first year that New Fortress is doing this, and I’m telling you, it’s like we have our own little fairy godmother because as hard as it is, we know we’re getting double from New Fortress – the fair and the vouchers, plus school supplies,” Johnson said.
She continued: “I don’t really have it to take my daughter somewhere to have so much fun in the summer, so trust me, she looks forward to it, and I know for a fact that many other parents look forward to this as well.”
Dahlia Golding-Mitchell, a teacher at the Old Harbour Primary School, said that she felt compelled to seek out members of the New Fortress Energy team to express thanks on behalf of the students and parents.
“You have no idea what today means to these students and parents. As a teacher in the classroom, I see the hardship that exists in some of these families, and this, for them, is a very big help.
“Come September morning,” she continued, “these kids will be coming back to school with new bags, books, plus new uniforms that they get to purchase with their vouchers. I just couldn’t let you leave without coming over to say thanks on behalf of the community and the school,” she told members of the New Fortress Energy team.
Speaking during the opening of the health fair, Verona Carter, vice-president of public affairs at New Fortress Energy, left a word of encouragement with the students.
“Education is a fundamental tool that can be used to lift people out of poverty. So take advantage of this help you’re getting to push yourself to excel to fulfil your fullest potential,” she told them.
A third and final back-to-school treat is to be hosted by New Fortress in Montego Bay, St James, on August 21 in collaboration with the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.