RURAL EXPRESS - Islington High School receives donation from NY businessman, friends
Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer
ISLINGTON, St MARY:
A NEW YORK-BASED entrepreneur and his two friends have pledged tens of thousands of US dollars to help upgrade computer and sports equipment at Islington High School in St Mary.
At a presentation ceremony held earlier this week at the school, Jamaica-born businessman Roy Reid, founder of the Portmore Cricket League (PCL) Charles Simpson, and PCL vice-president Lester Crooks, donated US$5,000 worth of cricket gear and announced plans to modernise the institution's computer laboratory.
Reid, who left Jamaica for the US in the late 1960s and went on to establish the Corporate Couriers delivery service in New York, told Rural Xpress: "Today is one of the finest moments in my life because I am able to come to Jamaica and make a notable contribution to Islington High School.
"Seeing all these kids made me kind of emotional and remember how great it was going to school in Jamaica. This contribution is something that will be very rewarding and help propel and transcend these kids to a different level."
Speaking after the presentation, he promised to contribute additional cricket equipment in the future and renovate the computer room by the end of July.
Reid said: "The computer lab is going to cost a lot of money. I don't want to put a cost to it, but we will be refurbishing the entire room with brand new computers, carpet and the correct types of chairs and desks, within six months.
Acting Custos of St Mary and Islington High's principal, Colonel Errol Johnson, said of the donations: "This shows there are Jamaicans out there who are willing to work and help move Jamaica forward. The future does not belong to us, but we are responsible for making it.
"I'm very grateful to the people who are coming on board to help us move this wonderful school into something functional that can provide the workforce that is necessary to move the country forward.
"These contributions will make a lot of difference because our emphasis right now is the vocational and technical areas, in addition to culture and sports.
In terms of the computers, this donation is great and will help us teach the students how to be computer literate and use the computer in applications and other fields."
Simpson noted that his own tough upbringing inspired him to support youth-focused projects regularly. He explained: "I was once a child and came from a very poor background. I ended up at a children's home and Alpha Boys School, and don't want to see any child go through what I did.
"Even before I left Alpha, I made a commitment that I would work towards helping children, and this is where that commitment has brought me today."
Reid added: "Our children are not receiving the quality of education they require in order to compete successfully globally. If we do not have an educated generation, we cannot have success economically and socially, here or abroad.
"Without an educated generation, we will stagnate and never reach the heights Paul Bogle, Samuel Sharpe, Claude McKay and many other trailblazers dreamed of.
"These are the kids of tomorrow. They will be the prime ministers, governors general, lawyers, doctors and nurses of the future and these things are needed to help build them to those heights."