US group aids Church of Christ Basic School
Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
EWARTON, St Catherine:
SEPTEMBER 13, 2011, will always hold a special place in the hearts of the staff and students of the Church of Christ Basic School in Ewarton, St Catherine, and that day will be etched in their memory for quite a long time.
The day holds a special significance for the school as a team from Dallas West Indies United (DWIU), a non-profit organisation in the United States of America, donated a number of well-needed items, including a 13-cubic-foot refrigerator, a microwave, items of clothing, as well as school supplies.
The institution was selected as a beneficiary after DWIU's president, Roy LaBeach, who hails from the community but now lives in Dallas, asked his father Onel to conduct research to identify an institution in dire need of assistance.
Marci Williams-Boyd, DWIU's social director, handed over the gifts to Pauline Blake, principal of the 21-year-old institution which has 50 students on register.
"It actually feels good to be here," Williams-Boyd told The Gleaner. "Education is always a part of our mantra, and we do hope these items will make a difference to the school and the kids who are so receptive. They love us; they love to touch us and feel us. it's actually like Santa Claus coming to this school."
An elated Blake expressed appreciation to DWIU, which has committed to making annual donations to the school.
"We are ecstatic! We feel good. Words can't explain. The fridge is something that I have been dreaming of for four years for the children. they come with their drinks, they want it to keep cool, and because we had a deep freeze, it would freeze them. The refrigerator will make it much easier now," Blake explained.
The principal expressed her profound gratitude for the gifts, adding that the next priority on her wish list is to obtain computers for the school.
"In this technological age, we have one computer and it's not working, so we really wish we will be blessed with some computers soon. We want to start to get the children familiar with computers, too," the headmistress said.
Equally appreciative of the gifts was Sofia Findley, who teaches the three-year-olds.
"Every minute my children say, 'teacher, I want water', and I'm asthmatic, so the freezer doesn't really work for me. I also take my breakfast to school and sometimes it gets so cold, now I can warm it up," said Findley.
The parents who witnessed the presentation were equally appreciative of the gesture.
"I have two children here and I am really glad that people overseas see it fit to assist this school, and I know my sons will benefit," Magarita McKenzie, a parent, said.
Another parent, Coleen Clarke-Stephens, told The Gleaner: "While I am glad for everything, I am especially happy for the fridge because it is really, really hot now and sometimes by the time my daughter gets to school with her drink, it gets hot, and at least now teacher can put it in the fridge until she is ready for it."
DWIU was formed in November 2001 to foster a more harmonious relationship among West Indians living in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth community, while providing assistance to the needy.
The organisation aims to bring Dallas and Fort Worth residents of all cultures together to promote an appreciation of diverse ethnicities.
PHOTOS BY KAREN SUDU