Mon | Dec 4, 2023

Manning’s School opens new STEM centre

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2023 | 12:44 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Students at the Manning’s School in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, now have an improved opportunity to develop their skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) following last Friday’s official opening of the institution’s new Victor Lowe STEM Centre.

The facility, located next to the school auditorium, is the only STEM centre of its kind in western Jamaica. It is named after past student, Victor Lowe, who donated approximately US$400,000 (J$61 million), which is 80 per cent of the funding to construct the centre.

In an emotional address at the opening ceremony, Lowe, a member of the Manning’s School’s graduating class of 1967, described the STEM centre as an honour to the sacrifice his parents made to enrol him at the school during his time as a student.

“I had no idea that this actual moment would bring me close to tears. It is overwhelming, and I cannot help but think of my parents and the many sacrifices providing the opportunity for this actualisation. All this is in honour of them,” said Lowe.

“Isn’t this a good day for the Manning’s School family? Surely it is one for western Jamaica and Jamaica at large, in the witnessing of the official opening of this magnificent and worthy edifice,” continued Lowe. “While I attended this noble institution, there were two academic streams – the sciences, and the arts. Students, today the world is your oyster, and you must never forget it.”

The creation of the Victor Lower STEM Centre was born out of a need for students to have a place where they could carry out their science and mathematics assignments, following the closure of the school’s iconic Thomas Manning Building in 2019, after it fell into disrepair and was deemed unsafe for use.

At that time, Lowe, and several other Manning’s past students, including the New York and South Florida chapters of the Manning’s School Past Students’ Association, chipped in to help fund the new building. Efforts are currently under way to complete the restoration of the Thomas Manning Building.

Steve Gordon, principal of Manning’s School, said that the STEM centre, which will facilitate the school’s Brain STEM programme and be complemented by a STEM Club, will aid students in learning how to apply practical problem-solving techniques.

“As educators, we are always looking for new ways to keep our students motivated. As such, it is important that we keep up with the trends in education so that our students remain enthused and informed,” said Gordon.

“STEM moves beyond the usual tests and rudiments of the classroom; it focuses on higher thinking skills by connecting the classroom learning with real-world problem-solving. The Manning’s School family proudly declares, today, our intention is to join the rest of the world to inspire our next generation of students, the next generation of scientists, educators, and innovators, giving them the opportunity to discover the world through STEM education.”

During the opening ceremony, which also coincided with the school’s 285th anniversary celebration, a cheque for $1 million was also donated from sponsor, JN Bank, towards financing the provision of equipment for the new STEM centre.