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JIS News

Former resident of the Chester Castle community in Eastern Hanover and past student of the Chester Castle All Age School, Ovan Clarke has demonstrated the true meaning of giving back to one’s community, by financing extensive repairs to the school at a cost of $1.7 million.
The work involved the complete painting of the school; repairs to all broken doors; replacement of the entire electrical system as well as the installation of electrical fluorescent lamps; repairs to the bathroom facilities and the roof, and the provision of books, pencils and 35 desks for students.
In an interview with JIS News, Principal of the School, Nelson Kameka, explained that while the total expenditure in cash by Mr. Clarke was $1.7 million, if the labour that had been volunteered by members of the community was factored in, then the total expenditure on the institution would exceed that sum. Mr. Clarke, who now resides and operates a construction company in the United States, has regularly donated gifts, cash and scholarships to students and other members of the community, through funding from the Gwendolyn and John Clarke Foundation, which was established in honour of his parents.
In expressing gratitude on behalf of the 455 students and 16 teachers of the institution, the principal stated that they had been very pleased upon their return to school this month to what seemed like a new institution, compared with what obtained after the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September.
“When they came they were more than surprised, because they could not believe that such a large volume of work could have been done in such a short period of time. It was really wonderful, not to mention the students’ response. They were thrilled,” Mr. Kameka said.
He informed that Mr. Clarke’s generosity would continue as the Foundation had adopted the school, and indicated that the next project would be the resurfacing of the roadway to the institution, and the teachers’ cottage during the Easter break. Mr. Kameka said that he would be seeking additional classroom space as well, since the shortage of space had led to classes for the Grade Six students being held at an adjoining church.