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GoodHeart | Tivoli Gardens High students receive tablets from alumni

Published:Saturday | December 4, 2021 | 12:06 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Twenty Azpen 10.1” Android tablets were distributed to grades seven and 10 students of the Tivoli Gardens High School last Tuesday.
Twenty Azpen 10.1” Android tablets were distributed to grades seven and 10 students of the Tivoli Gardens High School last Tuesday.
Cleve ‘Lt Stitchie’ Laing addresses the parents, students and staff during the handover ceremony.
Cleve ‘Lt Stitchie’ Laing addresses the parents, students and staff during the handover ceremony.
Principal of Tivoli Gardens High School Marvin Johnson (left) and Cleve ‘Lt Stitchie’ Laing, president, Tivoli Gardens High School Alumni Track Corporation, shake hands after they both shared important messages with the school’s students and parents.
Principal of Tivoli Gardens High School Marvin Johnson (left) and Cleve ‘Lt Stitchie’ Laing, president, Tivoli Gardens High School Alumni Track Corporation, shake hands after they both shared important messages with the school’s students and parents.
From left: Jodi-Ann Webb-Brown and her daughter Jellisa Brown, a ninth-grade student of the Tivoli Gardens High School join Lt Stitchie outside the auditorium to show their gratitude.
From left: Jodi-Ann Webb-Brown and her daughter Jellisa Brown, a ninth-grade student of the Tivoli Gardens High School join Lt Stitchie outside the auditorium to show their gratitude.
Tivoli Gardens High School students grab a quick photo with Lt Stitchie.
Tivoli Gardens High School students grab a quick photo with Lt Stitchie.
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Twenty Tivoli Gardens High School students were gifted with tablets purchased through alumni donations at a special handover ceremony last Tuesday.

Addressing the ceremony, Cleve Laing, president of the Tivoli Gardens High School Alumni Track Corporation, noted that the organisation had recognised the financial challenges and the mental strains of the pandemic on the youth and decided to step in to offer upliftment to the school by providing some of the students who have been impacted.

Reminiscing on his graduation from high school, Laing, who is known popularly as the gospel recording artiste and philanthropist Lt Stitchie, said that “poverty was not an excuse for failure”.

“At my graduation at Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street, I was standing in one of my friend’s shoes I borrowed for the ceremony. How fitting is it that I came back to sing Wear Yuh Size,” he shared, adding that today he can wear his size because of a commitment to a purpose.

“Work at your level, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and be comfortable in your own skin because you are perfectly made. Don’t allow others to define you; know who you are and be comfortable in your own skin. You are here this morning for a purpose, for the purpose of goodness,” Lt Stitchie emphasised to the students and their parents.

The artiste said the phoenix appropriately represents the school as the students have the ability to rise from the ashes and that the alumni organisation continues to support the enormous feat.

He told The Gleaner, “We have been leading the charge by helping our alma mater in several ways when and wherever we can. One way is to provide scholarships, uniforms, school supplies and, this time, we were able to get tablets which we provided to students of grades seven to 10. While others focus at the top, the alumni see the importance of [looking] deeper because,if we don’t train them to compete in the 100-metre race, we cannot expect to see them at the finish line.”

“Personally, it is my duty to sow back into the institution that has [helped] create me into who I am. Like a phoenix, we are all able to rise,” Lt Stitchie added.

Jodi-Ann Webb-Brown, the mother of Jellisa Brown, a ninth-grade student who was one of the 20 recipients of a tablet, said she was overwhelmed and excited when she received the call that her daughter was getting a tablet.

“It was well needed, and she deserved it. Her laptop was giving trouble, so logging on for classes was tedious, and so I had to give her my phone while I went to work. Then she got on the honour roll and this was a gift. I pray every day for my children because I want to break that generational curse that they will make it to college,” she said.

She explained that Jellisa could not read when she got into Grade Six but that she was able to get her extra classes to be prepared to go on to high school. However, Tivoli Gardens High was not the first choice for her daughter.

“At first, I was not convinced it would be the right environment for her and was not planning on sending her here. After a while, I said to myself, it is not what you want, but what God wants. And, when she got here, in seventh grade, she started to excel. He has a purpose for her in life, and it is being fulfilled. I am truly grateful for the tablet,” Webb-Brown said.

The school’s principal, Marvin Johnson, also highlighted the significance of providing a safe space, the importance of the initiative to the community and the students, and the needed motivation it has provided.

“First of all, we must understand that our students are God’s creations. As such, they are royalty and we have to treat them accordingly. So, we must implore notwithstanding their socioeconomic background or upbringings, when they come to the Tivoli Gardens High. We have to create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning that will assist them to be the best version of themselves. So, ultimately when they leave here, they can participate and contribute meaningfully to the development of self, families and communities and, by extension, the development of our countries,” Johnson said.

With initiatives like these that engage them and address their learning needs, and by modifying our programmes to ensure it is consistent with what is happening today, we believe, through the dedication of our stakeholders, our teachers, our board, our parents and all support staff, and the help of Almighty God, we know the Tivoli Gardens High School — the phoenix — will continue to rise,” he continued.

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