Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
PORT MARIA, St Mary:THE SUMMER is out and it's time to head back to school.
Come Monday morning, most students will be heading out with their books and all the other items that are needed for school, but for some children in rural St Mary, going back to school is a nightmare because they do not have the necessary resources.
However, one Good Samaritan wants to change the back-to-school experience of some less fortunate children in her neighbourhood.
To this end, 50 needy children have received backpack loaded with books and pencils courtesy of the Mt Angus Primary and Junior High School Alumni Association, which was started in 2011 by Cynthia Fearing, a past student of the institution.
Fearing, 63, affectionately called Peggy, is a retired nurse who resides in the United States of America. Despite her humble beginnings, she was determined to be successful.
She said the education she got at Mt Angus Primary and Junior High School prepared her to compete at an advanced level when she arrived in the USA. She, therefore, wants to give back to her alma mater.
"I love children, and when I was growing up here, parents never showed emotions. They wouldn't tell their children that they loved them. My mom never told me she loved me. I used to compete in poetry here at the school and came first, and my mom never said 'Peggy, you did well', but when you do something bad, you get a whipping, so I want to change that. I hug my kids and tell them I love them."
Fearing has embarked on a number of projects to uplift the school and its students.
CAN ACHIEVE SUCCESS
"I want to tell the young people here at the school to know that they can succeed because I have gone through the same system that they are going through, and I have succeeded. I have worked with students that came in from other schools in grade seven who cannot read and I worked with them, taught them the alphabet and phonetics. Eighty per cent of them were able to learn to read and move on to high school and are doing well," Fearing told The Gleaner.
She said her reward comes from knowing that she has made a difference, a positive change, in the lives of those children, the future of Jamaica.
"It makes me feel good when I see some of them on the street, and they would run up to me and hug me and say 'Mrs Fearing! Look what I got. I'm head prefect!', and this person couldn't read at grade seven and eight," Fearing said.
Come next year, the association hopes to do more for the students of Mt Angus Primary and Junior High.
"We are going to start a foundation to assist students with lunch money, uniforms, school-bags, and shoes. If the parents cannot afford it, we want to help. We also want to start a scholarship for students leaving this school and going on to college because we want to help as many students as we can, from this stage on to tertiary level education, because they are the future."