Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
DISCOVERY BAY, St Ann:DISCOVERY BAY All-Age School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and its main target to mark the occasion is to complete a reading resource room/library at the institution for the more than 500 students on roll.
"It would be a wonderful thing to have it finished within this our 50th year," principal, June Clarke, told The Gleaner on Wednesday. "I think this would speak volumes for the school and the community, and by extension, Jamaica and the education fraternity as a whole."
The idea of a reading resource room/library was conceptualised in 2003 when Clarke was given the mandate by then principal Johnallson Feraria, to coordinate literacy activities at the school. This led to the formation of a reading club. Following Feraria's departure, Clarke took over as principal and had been seeking to solidify the gains made in the reading department.
CONTRIBUTIONS BEING MADE
The plans were boosted when Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners donated three retrofitted containers, and former member of Parliament, Othneil Lawrence, donated funds to construct a concrete base for the containers. The objective now is to roof the paved area.
Contributions have also come from past students Spicy Nice Bakery; the parent-teacher association; Ultimate Jerk Centre; First Regional Cooperative; Brown's Town Books and Stationery Supplies; Fitzroy's Wholesale; and Donovan Carter, promoter of Reggae Fever.
Said Clarke: "We have been trying to put on fund-raising events, but we have not been able to accrue the amount of funds that we need to complete it. But we're not giving up. We're still working on it and we're hoping that corporate sponsors will come on-board and assist us to complete this exercise."
She said the amount needed is over $1 million.
Near the end of the last school term, the school held a concert to officially mark its 50th year and also to try and raise funds.
"It was observed on June 29 just to ensure that the students and all the teachers would have been available for involvement as well as past students and other stakeholders," explained Clarke. "It took the form of a concert and a retro performance. School close by were invited to give items as we staged a rich cultural concert. Then we had a night session where performers came in."
Much has changed since the school opened in the year of Jamaica's Independence - 1962.
"There is a lot of improvement that has been done to the building that we had originally," said Clarke, who has been at the school since 1980.
"Originally, the school was built to hold about 350 students, and at times, we've been up to even 600, to the point where our school has been on shift for a number of years. We're hoping in short order we'll be off. But concerning the building we got in 1962, we have been able to add three additional classrooms, a computer room, and a breakfast room. We have also moved away from pit toilets with the assistance of Noranda Bauxite Company and the Past Students' Association."
The next major move is to complete the resource room/library.