Wed | Sep 23, 2020

For Jamaica Day, Aabuthnott Gallimore taps into agriculture

Published:Monday | February 24, 2020 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
From left: Cabrini Edwards, principal Eloise Panton and Stacy Richards.
Grade-nine student Kahelia Balfour (centre) explains what went into her making this wooden machete to teachers Stacy Richards and Alrick Pinnock.
Students view some of the food items on display
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Aabuthmott Gallimore High School, located in the farm-friendly area of Alexandria, St Ann, used the annual Jamaica Day celebrations on Friday to further develop its excellent agriculture programme at the school.

English language teacher at the school, Stacy Richards, who is also a farmer, used her link with the Mount Moriah farmers group to bring some expertise to the day’s events.

Richards, who farms sweet and hot peppers, yam, and also rears cattle, got several farmers to spend some time at the institution displaying items and passing on practical knowledge to agricultural students, at an event that was also supported by H&L Agro.

“We want to create a bond between the school and the community. We also want to teach the students, and the community as well, how they can grow their community economically through farming,” Richards told The Gleaner.

The school’s agricultural programme, which encompasses all grades, from seven to 11, has seen the school score 100 per cent passes in CSEC agricultural science for several years. Last year, the pass rate was 95 per cent.

Principal Eloise Panton said it was the first time the school was inviting a corporate body such as H&L Agro, and farmers from the parish, to partner with the institution for Jamaica Day.

“We want our agricultural students to gain exposure and see that there are various avenues that they can pursue in that particular field,” Panton explained.

“Miss Richards has taken on the farmers in our community. She’s trying to integrate that project within our school so that the children can make a link between what they’re learning in the classroom and what is happening in the real world.”

One such student is grade nine’s Kahelia Balfour, who has been enjoying the subject.

“It is something pretty interesting to me because my community, Cedar Valley, does a lot of farming and I enjoy it,” she told The Gleaner, adding that tomato, string bean, cabbage and corn are the crops that she plants.

Meanwhile, agricultural science teacher for grades eight and nine, Alrick Pinnock, has hailed Richards’ effort to create a bond between the school and the farming community.

“She’s doing the hands-on part of it, getting the outside communities involved in agriculture, trying to build the interest of the people and the students. My part is to incorporate the students’ knowledge in agriculture so that we can have more farmers, more food for the country,” Pinnock said.

In the past, the school has partnered with Noranda Bauxite, which has erected a greenhouse and provided seeds to the school’s agricultural department.

Jamaica Day also saw the usual fun activities at the school, along with a display of Jamaican foods such as ackee and salt fish, and sweet potato pudding.