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New Fortress reaches out to Barracks Road Primary

Published:Saturday | November 7, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Barracks Road Primary School students Damani Curtis (front left), Hueroge Stanley (front right), Arkeila Drummond (back left), and Daneila Chambers show off their tablets received from New Fortress Energy Foundation.
Barracks Road Primary School students Damani Curtis (front left), Hueroge Stanley (front right), Arkeila Drummond (back left), and Daneila Chambers show off their tablets received from New Fortress Energy Foundation.
St James Custos Reverend Conrad Pitkin presents a tablet to Barracks Road Primary grade-six student Damani Curtis on behalf of New Fortress Energy Foundation. Also sharing in the occasion are (from left) Damia Dawes-Monthrope, third vice-president of the M
St James Custos Reverend Conrad Pitkin presents a tablet to Barracks Road Primary grade-six student Damani Curtis on behalf of New Fortress Energy Foundation. Also sharing in the occasion are (from left) Damia Dawes-Monthrope, third vice-president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Principal Maxine Coates-Brown; and Jacqui Burrell Clarke, director of communications and community relations at New Fortress Energy Foundation.
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Last month as the new school year got under way, Barracks Road Primary principal Maxine Coates-Brown made a plea for corporate Jamaica and citizens to help scores of students who were unable to connect to online classes due to a lack of devices.

“We have over 1,300 students attending Barracks Road Primary ..., [and] approximately 280 are on PATH,” Coates-Brown had told The Gleaner, referring to the State’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education welfare initiative. “Many of our students are of poor socio-economic status, and their families find it hard to cope in these very uncertain and challenging times.”

The principal said that almost half of these students were now without a device to access classes forced online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is just sad that so many of our students are faced with such serious issues as it relates to having Internet connectivity and devices. We are now seeking to do a tablet and laptop drive for these needy students so as to assist them in maximising their learning output,” said Coates-Brown.

Thankful and relieved

On October 29, New Fortress Energy Foundation responded to her call, donating 53 devices to all needy grade-six students at the Montego Bay-based school.

“I was so thankful and relieved when I got the call from New Fortress Energy,” a grateful Coates-Brown said. “Grade six is the final sitting of PEP (the Primary Exit Profile), which means this is a critical time for these students, so I’m very excited that these students can participate in all their classes and have a fair chance of realising their full potential.”

St James Custos The Reverend Conrad Pitkin also saluted the energy provider for the well-needed donation.

“It is indeed heart-warming to see the ‘we’re-all-in-this-together’ posture that many corporate Jamaican companies like New Fortress Energy have taken since the onset of this pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need to rally together for the future of our country,” he said.

Verona Carter, vice-president at New Fortress Energy, said: “We’re committed to making an impact and creating a brighter future for Jamaica. We strongly believe that education is a key driver that will power sustainable social and economic growth for our country. We are, therefore, delighted that we can be part of the solution by helping these grade-six students stay connected with school during this very unfortunate time. Every child deserves access to quality education despite their financial or social circumstances.”

As part of New Fortress’ back-to-school programme in August, more than 300 primary-school students in St James each received a backpack, notebooks, and $10,000 vouchers to purchase additional supplies.

In addition, more than 70 high-school students received tablets, while 27 also received bursaries valued at $50,000 each for tuition and external examinations.