Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Content Primary School gets new infant department

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2023 | 12:12 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Workmen applying the finishing touches to the new building that will accommodate 70 students in the infant department at the Content Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland.
  
Workmen applying the finishing touches to the new building that will accommodate 70 students in the infant department at the Content Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland.  
From left: Jason Whittingham, principal of Content Primary and Infant School; Godfrey Walters, representing Daniel Lawrence, member of parliament for Westmoreland Eastern; Jacqueline Brown, acting senior education officer in Region Four of the Ministry of
From left: Jason Whittingham, principal of Content Primary and Infant School; Godfrey Walters, representing Daniel Lawrence, member of parliament for Westmoreland Eastern; Jacqueline Brown, acting senior education officer in Region Four of the Ministry of Education and Youth; Craig Rupert, and Chris Davitt co-chairs of Davitt/Rupert Family and Friends Mission; Audre Golden-Salmon, acting principal at the school; and two students from the infant department share in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally hand over the facility to the Ministry of Education.
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Western Bureau:

Appreciative smiles lingered on many faces in Content, Westmoreland, as residents of the quiet, rural farming community welcomed the unveiling of the newly constructed unit to house the infant department at the Content Primary and Infant School.

The new facility, which was built by Food For The Poor (FFP), which partnered with the United States-based Davitt/Rupert Family and Friends Mission, was handed over to the Ministry of Education and Youth on Monday, February 20. The building, which comprises four classrooms, an administrative office, a sick bay, bathrooms, and a kitchen, can accommodate up to 70 students.

Marlene Richards, one of the parents who showed up for the handover ceremony, expressed to The Gleaner that the new building is like a dream that has become reality.

“While teaching and learning were taking place in the old building, the space was too small and sometimes proved a little uncomfortable for the children and their teachers,” said Richards. “The children from the community will now be comfortably facilitated in the new infant department.”

An equally elated Leary Nembhard, a male parent, was also beaming, having watched the space that was once a pasture of tender grass, transform into a place for teaching and learning.

“For us, this is a milestone. It’s a well-needed facility, and we are delighted that Food For The Poor and the financial donors have thought it fit to build this early-childhood department in our community,” said Nembhard. “This will be a great facility; it is more spacious and provides a better learning environment for our children.”

Susan James-Casserly, senior projects manager at FFP, said her agency will continue to positively impact communities through its humanitarian arm by way of an entity known as CRUSE: ‘Collaboration,’ by doing the ‘Right’ things right with ‘Urgency’, ‘Stewardship’ and ‘Engagement.’

“We are proud to be part of providing the structure that will make a difference, but we also want to work closely with our communities with our project, to bring the resources to the table to make a better life for our children,” said James-Casserly.

“One of the things that is most important to us at Food For The Poor is to ensure that every child has a future of hope, and a future that they can dream about becoming a valued contributor to society,” she added.

The school’s principal, Jason Whittingham, said the partnership between Davitt/Rupert and Friends Mission, Food For The Poor, and the Ministry of Education has helped to change the education landscape in the community by creating a facility that will cater to all its residents.

“You have made an indelible mark in this community, not just the community, but you have changed the educational landscape in this geographic region and, by extension, the society at large,” said Whittingham. “With this building, it is our opinion that we will have exponential growth. We will now be able to accommodate students from around the area.”

Chris Davitt, who heads the Davitt/Rupert Family and Friends Mission, said they have been travelling to Jamaica for over 20 years, having fallen in love with the island, and that helping the children of Welcome district is a token of their love.

“It is a strong, powerful feeling we get when we connect with people like this. It is a partnership between the people of Jamaica, and we love doing it,” said Davitt. “We reached out to Food For The Poor and they guided us on this project.”