The Majesty Gardens Basic School in South West St. Andrew has received some well needed assistance from the Steve Harvey Foundation, which presented the institution with a cheque for just over $1 million on Friday (March 12).
Speaking at the handing over on the school grounds, Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness, said the institution could easily be classified as a model one, as it showed that the church, parents, and community have a special interest in the facilities and in education.
He noted that the Foundation has continued to lend its support to the school, because previous donations had been put to good use.
“If you want more, the first way to get more is to do more with what you have, and once people see that you’re doing more with what you have, then it makes sense to give more,” the Minister said.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness shares a moment with students of the Majesty Gardens Basic School in South West St. Andrew on Friday (March 12). Occasion was a handing over ceremony for a cheque of over $1 million from the Steve Harvey Foundation to the school. The Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded by the African-American actor/comedian, that seeks to improve the quality of public schools in urban areas.
He said the Ministry’s job in the equation is to make the connection between persons and entities that want to give, and schools which will make the best use of these gifts.
Mr. Holness explained that this is why the Government of Jamaica has created the National Education Trust, to make the connection with Jamaicans in the Diaspora who want to give back to their communities, and their country.
“We are setting up this Trust, so that if you can give $20 or $20 million, there is an institution that you can have confidence in that, if you give them the money, they will make sure that what you intended the money to be used for that you will get that and more,” he said.
Member of Parliament for South West St. Andrew and Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon Portia Simpson Miller, welcomed the donation, stating that any investment in children is one in the future, and the development of the country. She also urged parents to get involved in the lives of their children and pass on good values.
Mrs. Simpson Miller encouraged more young persons to pursue an education, in order to break the cycle of poverty and provide a better life for themselves and their children. She said that the same quality education must be provided in all schools, so that parents in the inner city will be encouraged to send their children to schools within their own communities.
Presenting the cheque to the school, Steve Harvey Foundation Board Member, Alsion Roach, stressed the importance of education and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
In his remarks, Chairman of the St. Andrew Settlement, Douglas Folkes, who also chaired the function, said the assistance provided by the Foundation, from as far back as 2005, has been particularly helpful to the school.
“As a result of that, we were able to provide some 20 scholarships/bursaries to some of the children. That resulted in them staying in school. Many of them would not have attended school with regularity had we not had those resources,” Mr. Folkes said.
In 2007, an additional 30 children were provided with financial support, with help from the Foundation, and in 2008, some of those funds were used to acquire furniture and equipment, as well as assist the school feeding programme.
Work was also undertaken to address plumbing and security problems at the school. The latest donation will go towards the school feeding programme, as well as painting sections, enhancing of the reading room and other immediate needs.
The Basic School is an outreach project of the St. Andrew Parish Church, and is partially financed by the Government. It is governed by the Church Board, and serves some 94 students, between the ages of three and six years, who live in Majesty Gardens. It has seven staff members, five of whom are teachers, including the Principal, Beverly Tyndale.
Mrs. Tyndale pointed out that the institution’s objective is to provide quality education, and promote parent and community participation in school affairs, to provide the children with a positive foundation.
Steve Harvey a frequent visitor to Jamaica, is an American actor, comedian, entertainer and radio personality best known as the star of the WB sitcom, The Steve Harvey Show, and as one of the four comedians featured in the Spike Lee film, The Original Kings of Comedy. He will start hosting the popular American TV game show, Family Feud, in September.