Correction & Clarification
On Monday we carried this photo that incorrectly named Erica Hamilton. We apologise for the error.
While many high schools in Jamaica bear the name 'college', far too few are equipped to be so described, but not Campion College. The already well-appointed St Andrew co-educational high school now has its own library and media centre, thanks to the efforts of lead donor Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's family, the Lim family, parents of the deceased student Andre Matthew Lim and scores of alumni, parents and friends of the school. The state-of-the-art facility was officially opened on October 24.
The facility has its genesis in 2009 when 'Butch' Stewart, donated US$350,000 towards the construction of Jamaica's first modern high-school library media centre, named in honour of his late son, Jonathan, a past student of the school.
The new two-storey library media centre is impressive, boasting a spacious lobby area with clippings and framed pieces about the donors and Campion's history, along with a a storage area for students' bags behind the reception desk. On the ground floor also, there are an IT office, document centre, lecture theatre, student meeting room, a reading/study area, several computers and two bathrooms. Upstairs has more student meeting rooms, bathrooms, the Andre Matthew Lim seminar room outfitted with audio-visual equipment, a recording studio, more study areas, more computers, books, magazines - in various formats - and a spacious balcony specifically for the use of sixth-form students.
It is not surprising that libarian Peta-Gaye Brown, is thrilled to be working there. "I have been at Campion for three years and compared to other schools where I have worked, it is fantastic", she said. She told The Gleaner that the students also love it. And the few who have used it in the week since it opened, seemed unable to control their excitement.
"I love it", was the response of the four we asked to say how they feel about it.
Remember to give back
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites expressed the wish for every high school in Jamaica to one day, like Campion, be a beacon for good education in Jamaica. "The edifice can't bring your sons back", he said in thanking the donor families, "but it will make sure their spirit will live on".
And speaking on behalf their family, Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International said they had looked for a way to keep late brother Jonathan's memory alive. Being aware of the challenges in education, they encourage others to give back. A very emotional and teary-eyed older brother, Bobby Stewart, spoke of his brother's generous and outgoing personality. "He was a big reader from prep-school days and spent a lot of time at the Tom Redcam library", he said in encouraging the students to make good use of the library.
Archtect Bruce Lopez designed the building, with other expertise coming from Tankweld, Satyn Consultants and a host of donors who raised US$1.4 million to finance the project.