Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
NEW FOREST, Manchester:
WHEN STUDENTS and staff of the New Forest Infant, Primary and Junior High School in Manchester arrived for the start of school on Monday, they got a pleasant surprise.
Just days before the opening of the new school year, they had received a big boost of well-needed computers and a projector for the Instructional Technology (IT) department.
The move was made possible by past-student siblings Trisha Williams-Singh, senior corporate relations manager Digicel; Ann-Marie Vaz, wife of politician Daryl Vaz; Marsha White, an accomplished New York-based attorney-at-law; Novia Ramsay, director for housing at Hofstra University; Michelle Bent, accountant with TD Bank in Canada, and Duane Stephenson, businessman in St Elizabeth.
As Williams-Singh explained, "As a family, we wanted to do something for the school, all of us including my brother (Duane) went to this school. So in dialogue with the principal, (Arnaldo Allen), he told us that the immediate need of the institution was getting the computer room more sustainable with more modern computers and another projector. The family came together, and here we are today."
The donation included a laptop computer and a projector while Digicel, in support of its team member Williams-Singh, donated a desktop computer.
Karl Gaynor, chief executive officer of the Camara Jamaica Foundation, an affiliate of Digicel which refurbishes and repairs computers for needy entities, was on hand at the handover ceremony, to set up the computers.
Principal Allen was overwhelmed by the kind gesture, "We are very happy for this. The teachers almost have to compete for the use of the one projector that we had prior to this one that we are getting now, and we only had one laptop. As it relates to in-class teaching, we now have a 100 per cent increase."
Allen noted that many of the 23 computers now at the school were not working, while others were outdated, so it would be very good to get them updated. "We use the computers to introduce children to IT and for the teachers to enhance the teaching-learning process," he said.
The grateful principal said both teachers and students are excited about using modern technology in the learning process. "Teachers recognise that their jobs are made easier with the use of this technology," Allen explained. "We recognise that the boys are now more into learning, because they tended to be more hands-on and are excited about technology. It opens their exploration world, thereby generating their interest."
The sum of $150,000 was also donated to the school in the name: Eva and June Wright Education Fund, courtesy of Ann-Marie Vaz. "The education fund is in memory of our loving mother (June Wright) and in honour of our grandmother Eva Wright," Vaz said.
"Both were stalwarts of Duff House district where we were born and raised. The scholarship will run for three years where the top performing boy and girl will receive $50, 000 each year."