Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
HUNTS TOWN, St Mary:COMMUNITY SPIRIT came alive in the deep rural community of Hunts Town in St Mary recently as residents worked to rehabilitate the basic school in the area.
Members of the Concerned Citizens' Association, along with the parent-teacher association, under the theme 'Our Country, Our Community, Our Responsibility', joined hands and renovated the Hunts Town Basic School and multi-purpose building.
The school was rebuilt in 2000 under the Lift Up Jamaica programme and furnished by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.
Alphanso Clarke, president of the Concerned Citizens' Association, said the association felt it was important to undertake the refurbishing of the school.
"We, as citizens, along with the church, came together to see how we could help, because we saw that soon there would be nowhere for the children to go," said Clarke.
Ceceile Bridgette Gordon, principal of the Hunts Town Basic School, said she is grateful for the work that is being done.
"It has been 12 years since it has been painted. It was rebuilt by Lift Up Jamaica, through the citizens' association, and I'm happy that they have decided to give the school a facelift. I'm very appreciative and I'm sure when the children come in, they will love it, because they are very observant," said Gordon.
Desmond Sinclair, the Social Development Commission (SDC) officer for the area, said it is time that communities take the initiative to find out what is important to them and not wait on the government's help.
"This is one of the first schools in St Mary to be built in 2000 by Lift Up Jamaica, and we thought with such a milestone, it is necessary to give the school a facelift. It is a poor community and we can't hide from that, so we have to encourage members of the community to try and protect assets in their community," said Sinclair.
SELF-GOVERNANCE AT WORK
SDC Parish Manager Jeanette Rose-Bryan, who participated in the project, said the community demonstrates self-governance.
"The exciting thing about today is you see the governance structure at work. The community has come out with many resources, they've come out with the labour and refreshment to help sustain something that is important to their community and that is commendable," she told The Gleaner.
Rose-Bryan continued: "What is most exciting to me is the number of young people that came out - even those passing by to see what is happening and decided to help. What we see is a community building the capacity to take charge of what they need and the SDC is happy to be a part of that, because we know that there was some work to be done because of the hurricane, and so far, it is a big success," said Rose-Bryan.
Stephanie Hall said she is pleased with the work that is being done on the school, noting that her son is expected to learn in a more comfortable environment.