PORT ANTONIO — The new Fruitful Vale Primary School, in Portland, was officially opened by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen on May 18.
The school replaces the old structure, which had served the community for several years and had fallen into disrepair.
Built at a cost of $160 million under the Government’s Primary Education Support Project (PESP), the new facility has nine classrooms, a library, a sick bay, ramp facility for the physically challenged and can accommodate 350 students.
Delivering the keynote address, the Governor-General described the occasion as an historic one, marking a new beginning for the Fruitful Vale Primary School and the community in general.
He commended the school for the outstanding service it has given to the community over the years, and argued that the construction of a more modern facility to continue that service is a good investment, which will bring significant benefits to Fruitful Vale and the wider Portland community.
Recalling his time as a student at the old school and the nurturing and training he received there, the Governor-General said many of the past students have excelled in various areas of national life, adding that those achievements should serve as examples for the current students to emulate.
He emphasised that a good education is key to the development of a successful life, and that he is a firm believer in the thought that there is nothing wrong in Jamaica that is beyond the ability of Jamaicans to correct.
The Governor-General said Jamaicans need to embrace the moral values and attitudes that will inspire hope and generate success for the nation, and hold on to honesty, respectfulness and courtesy, as such attributes are qualities which cannot be bought, but which can be taught to create a better society.
He implored students of the school to make the best use of the training they are receiving, pointing out that the abundance of educational opportunities which currently exist, make it possible for them to achieve the goals to which they aspire. He told them that there will be no limits to what they can achieve if they believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.
Commending the Fruitful Vale community for the support it has given to the school over the years, the Governor-General said he has been able, through the ‘I Believe Campaign’, to secure support from a number of past students of the school for the provision of 45 scholarships for Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) students of the school, to assist them with their high school education.
He also said he and Lady Allen will be donating the Lady Allen Reading Readiness Laboratory to the school to assist students to read properly, adding that he will be sponsoring an annual Governor-General Health Fair at the Fruitful Vale Health Clinic, to provide health care and promote healthy living among the people of the community.
Among those in attendance at the function were: Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness; Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Floyd Patterson; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Audrey Sewell; and President of Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Nadine Malloy-Young.
By ASTON G. BAILEY