Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Rose Heights Infant School gets new building

Published:Tuesday | February 18, 2020 | 12:16 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Opal Medley (centre), principal of Rose Heights Infant School, and Chris Davitt and Craig Ruppert (behind her), founders of the Davitt/Ruppert Mission group; and other stakeholders take part in the ribbon-cutting on Sunday.
Opal Medley (centre), principal of Rose Heights Infant School, and Chris Davitt and Craig Ruppert (behind her), founders of the Davitt/Ruppert Mission group; and other stakeholders take part in the ribbon-cutting on Sunday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

After several years of operating out of borrowed space, the faculty and student body at the Rose Heights Infant School in Rose Heights, St James, now have a building of their own, thanks to the input of a United States-based mission located in Washington, DC.

The eight-unit building, which was erected over a two-day period by Davitt/Ruppert Mission volunteers in collaboration with Food For The Poor, was handed over in an official ceremony on Sunday.

Opal Medley, the principal, expressed her profound gratitude for the new facility, a welcome change from the local community centre from which the school operated.

“I want to thank the Food For The Poor organisation for choosing us, as you saw the problems that we were facing and you were willing to come to our rescue,” said Medley, who also thanked Davitt/Ruppert Mission for “extending a heart of love to all”.

It is hoped that the new school will fall squarely into the plan to normalise Rose Heights, which is traditionally a hotbed of crime and violence in St James.

Since 2001, the Davitt/Ruppert Mission has partnered with Food For The Poor to build 181 housing units, five schools, and a home for the elderly in various locations. This includes a six-unit building for the St Elizabeth-based Lewis Town Basic School in 2014, and a new building for St Michael’s Basic School, Trelawny, in 2018.

Craig Ruppert, one of the founding members of the mission, said the project and other similar events have served as a learning experience for the organisation’s volunteers.

“We’ve been coming to Jamaica for close to 20 years, and every time we leave, we take something back with us. It’s a good feeling, and it’s a commitment for us to try and remember all the good things we have in life that we’re not always appreciative of,” said Ruppert.

Heroy Clarke, member of parliament for St James Central, in whose constituency Rose Heights is located, lauded the Davitt/Ruppert Mission and urged the residents to take care of the building.

“I want us to commit to ourselves that each and every one of us will be the security for this building. We will say to anybody who thinks that it is within their realm (right) to try to destroy or tear it down, ‘No, you can’t do it! A fi wi!” said Clarke.

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