Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Green Island Primary gets Food for the Poor upgrade

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A section of the new classroom blocks at the Green Island Primary School in Hanover.

Green Island Primary School in Hanover, officially unveiled its two newly constructed blocks of classrooms and refurbished facilities, undertaken by Food For The Poor (FFP), at a cost of $50 million.

The building was the largest investment made at a primary institution by FFP in Jamaica, bolstered by a US$250,000 (J$25 million) donation from American philanthropists, Mary and Mike Yaggie, and members of their extended family and friends.

The work undertaken included the construction of two blocks of buildings, each comprising 10 classrooms, renovation and re-roofing of the original structure, expansion of the library, tuck shop, and storage area, a garden gazebo, and a 10,000-gallon water-storage tank.

During the official opening ceremony last week, Principal Vaccianna Mosley said that, in the recent past, students of the institution were often at the mercy of the elements, as the vastly overcrowded building had fallen into disrepair.

"This year marks 95 years of Green Island Primary School's existence. After all these years, natural progression would dictate (that) a school with old, dilapidated infrastructure, nature should have taken its toll, but thanks to our friends, it is not so," Mosley said in his address.

"Our school was a 'bruck-dung' school. We had classrooms that we called chicken coops, and the children called it chicken coops because it was made of mesh. Funnily, the chickens of the neighbours thought so, because, at times, we found eggs in them," said Mosley. "We had a serious termite infestation. Our classes were overcrowded because of the limited classroom space. When rain fell, it poured, not only outside but inside."

"Excessive noise was not a nuisance, it was a culture," continued Mosley. "The first time I attempted to teach a class, I had to stop and leave because I could not hear my own voice. Most of the time, the classes were divided by chalkboards. It was total chaos."

The principal said the school's transformation began when Couples Negril adopted the school, undertook painting jobs and presented the institution with a state-of-the-art playground. He said Sandals and RIU resorts came on board, as well as councillor of the Green Island Division, Shernet Haughton.

"The miracle came when we sought assistance from Food For The Poor. They came to our school and, indeed, they saw our plight and they felt our pain. They promised to help," he said.

"We are humbled by this generosity. This is living testimony of human kindness. You cannot imagine the magnitude of the impact of this gift, not only on the immediate school community, but on all who interact with us. You had choices, and you chose to help us. You have invested in our nation's children, and for this our country is indebted to you. Your contribution will assist many generations of children to come."

Donor Mike Yaggie, who partnered with FFP, told Western Focus that he and his wife were looking for a project to sponsor. They were saddened when they visited the school on a rainy day and saw the conditions under which the staff and students were housed.

"We were moved by Mr Mosley, the kids and the teachers," said Yaggie. "We have been so blessed in our financial side and we get more blessed the more and more we give."