Primary-School Students Present Gifts to Centenarian

Photo: Claudia Gardner Centenarian, Merinda ‘Miss Mim’ Bryan is surrounded by students and teachers of the John Rollins Success Primary School after they presented her with gifts during a visit to her home in Barrett Town, St. James, on December 18.

Story Highlights

  • Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18.
  • Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan.
  • Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans.

Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18.

Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan.

Only several days before, they had visited basic and infant schools and homes of the sick and the elderly in other neighbouring communities of Zion, Spot Valley, Cornwall, Palmyra, Lilliput and Barrett Town to spread the Christmas cheer.

Miss Mim, who was born on December 6, 1917, is the mother of six children, 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.

She said she was happy to receive the gifts, which came less than two weeks following her birthday celebrations.

A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Miss Mim said in her youthful days she worked at the Tryall Estate in Hanover as a farmhand, and later became a shopkeeper.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans.

She said the Christmas outreach programme was among several other similar activities that the school undertakes each year, and which are driven by a community outreach coordinator and a committee.

She noted that the 932 students at her institution are organised into clubs and societies, and each of the groupings is required to undertake fundraising activities, as well as source donations of food, toys and other items, which are taken to the school during its official barrel drive at Christmas to be sorted and packaged into individual presents.

There are eight clubs and societies in operation at the John Rollins Success Primary School – the Red Cross, Brownies, K-Kids, Culture, Science Club, Cub Scout, Environmental Club and the Bible Club.

“As part of our school-improvement plan, one of the objectives is to participate in community outreach. And so, we believe that the students are supposed to be exposed as much as is possible, not just to focus on the academics, because to get a job in the future, they need to be able to relate to others. Coming out into the community and reaching out to others, that is just one aspect… so at this stage, we have to train them,” Mrs. Miller Wisdom said.

Eleven-year-old sixth-grader and President of the K-Kids Club, Elizabeth Minors, told JIS News that she was very pleased that her club, which is a junior arm of Kiwanis International, was able to contribute to the activities, especially the visit to Miss Mim.

“It is a privilege to come and be able celebrate the hundredth birthday with a centenarian, and I hope that God blesses her and allows her to see many more days,” she said.

Coordinator for the outreach programme at the school, Margaret Harwood Farquharson, said the students at the institution are always eager to participate in humanitarian activities, which became a major part of the institution as far back as 2006.

“Our school was officially opened in 2004, and we saw the need to impact our community, so, as a result of that, we coordinated the activity and got the teachers involved,” she explained.

“I think it is very important to get the students involved in outreach, because it gives them the opportunity to share with others. So, when they grow up, they will be able to socialise better, and when they see a need, they will be able to assist,” she added.

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