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Roehampton primary school wins St James school garden competiti

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Principal of the Roehampton Primary School, Winston Jennings (back left) and Agriculture teacher Theicia Allen (back right) and their students (from left) Alliah Francis, Jahnareo Pearson and Uniqua Blackwood pose with their top awards and winners cheque following the St. James Rural Agricultural Development Authority official School Garden Awards ceremony in Catherine Hall last week Friday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Roehampton Primary School emerged winners of the St James Primary School Garden Competition for the second

year in a row when they eclipsed second-place Bickersteth Primary School and third-place Cambridge Primary School, respectively, for the 2015 title.

The competition, which was coordinated by Elvis Gray, the agricultural extension officer for the Cambridge/Anchovy Division, saw a total of four schools participating. The presentation ceremony was held at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority's offices at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay last Friday.

During the ceremony, Cecelia Jackson of the Ministry of Education's Region Four said children who are involved in programmes of this nature, "have a rich future ahead of them." She also encouraged the children to be responsible and resolute in their endeavours.

"Tending to plants will teach children responsibility and teamwork. It will provide an opportunity to bring science, mathematics, social studies, language and visual arts to life through hands-on learning," Jackson said.

pta assistance

In an interview with Western Focus following the ceremony, Winston Jennings, the principal of Roehampton, told Western Focus that the school's farm was established several years ago to supply the school's canteen. He said members of the Parent-Teachers Association assist the school with the cleaning and weeding and other tasks on the farm.

"We started out in August, did some clearing, and we moved in with the entire project," said Jenning. "We did a variety of crops: cucumber, pak choi, scallion, peas, sweet pepper, Scotch bonnet pepper and carrot, just to name a few."

Gray told Western Focus that the competition was first held last year and came as a result of a needs assessment, which was conducted among some of the secondary and primary schools in the parish.

"It's not really a project; it's a programme, so it's an ongoing thing. The needs assessment was based on evaluation from the 4-H Club," said Gray. "We found that at the high-school level, most of the students were not in touch with agriculture, so we went into the primary schools and saw how well we can encourage the primary schools."

"We select schools based on their potential; meaning that they should have land space on which they can do gardening. We select schools in which we see some need for some nutritional improvement in terms of the feeding aspect of the students and also based on the security there," added Gray.