Mon | Apr 12, 2021

Marymount’s Holiday Helpers defy COVID-19 to help residents - Care packages, tablets donated

Published:Monday | December 28, 2020 | 12:07 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Some of the care packages that were delivered by Marymount High School’s Holiday Helpers.
Some of the care packages that were delivered by Marymount High School’s Holiday Helpers.

Marymount High School’s Holiday Helpers hit the trail recently to bring holiday cheers to residents in communities close to the St Mary-based school.

An annual event spearheaded by students since it was first introduced in 2012, the practice continued this year despite COVID-19 and with students away from the classroom.

Acting principal, Renee Lawrence, said in the absence of students this year, staff members, including those from the guidance and counselling department, along with acting chairman of the school board, Rev Rudolph Sommerville, ensured that the event was held this year.

“We had to, at this time. We could not have invited the students to participate in the activity; we decided that we still wanted to make sure that we continue with it this year,” Lawrence explained to The Gleaner.

Lawrence and Sommerville were among the presenters as the team shifted focus on beneficiaries this time around, offering a total of 15 care packages, each valued at $4,500, along with nine tablets.

“We looked within our school family this year because visiting some of these homes, we realised there were some serious challenges that our students were facing and, therefore, we decided this year that we were going to spend time to look about our own family. So the packages were given to parents and staff members,” the principal pointed out.


Head of the guidance and counselling department, Leslie Asante, supported the move, noting that, “While following up on students who were not attending online classes, conducting home visits re grief and welfare relief, it confirmed our conviction that this year’s Holiday Helpers should focus on struggling families of students.”

Before all of that though, the school had to overcome the challenge of raising items to include in the packages. Under normal circumstances, students and parents would have carried items from home, but with students not in school, this factor was removed. In the end, it was up to staff members to fill the gap. And they did without even thinking twice.

According to Asante: “COVID-19 dealt us a heavy blow in terms of raising support this year, but we managed to come up with something. Teachers, students and parents gave substantial contributions in cash and other items; ChaRob Supermarket in Highgate contributed and sold items without profit for the project; three teachers raised nine tablets for the benefit of the students. In addition to raising funds, past student Robyn Boyd contributed two 10-inch tablets.”

The tablets were presented along with the care packages to the most deserving students, with the presentation taking place just in time for Christmas.

Beneficiaries expressed delight at receiving the items.