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JIS News

The Jessie Ripoll Primary School in Kingston is the envy of all Jamaica, having being honoured with a gold-plated replica of the architectural masterpiece the ‘Bird’s Nest’, which was the main venue for the staging of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the site of Jamaica’s record-breaking performances at the Games.
The gift, from the Chinese Government, is in recognition of the school’s outreach to Fengtai, rated as the top primary institution in Beijing, during the months leading up to the Olympic Games.
Receiving the gift at a brief ceremony held on the school grounds on Thursday (Dec.11), Principal of Jessie Ripoll, Michael Brown, disclosed that his charges embraced the Chinese school in an effort to share with the students, Jamaica’s culture and natural beauty.
Jessie Ripoll has 890 students on roll while its sister school in China accommodates just over 3,500, but according to Mr. Brown, the thirst for shared experiences bridged the differences in size, culture and distance.
“Our students encouraged the students of Fengtai to cheer for Jamaica with the same passion and spirit, which they felt for their own athletes and they did with so much enthusiasm that they could be mistaken for Jamaican ethnic Chinese who were in the country for the Games,” Mr. Brown said. “They were even provided with Jamaican flags and would sing along as Jamaica’s National Anthem was being played each time we struck gold,” he added.
First Secretary and Director of Political Affairs in the Chinese Embassy, Huiping Song, in making the presentation, commended the special relationship between the two distant schools. She also praised the historic performance of the Jamaican athletes with special reference to triple gold medallist Usain Bolt.
“Usain Bolt had his 22nd birthday in the Bird’s Nest and almost 91,000 people sang happy birthday to him in nearly every language,” she reflected. She noted that the Jamaican athletes proudly stole the spotlight at the Games, “through their world-class athleticism and respectable patriotism.”
Mrs. Song noted further that through the Beijing Olympic Games, “Jamaica learned more about China and China learned more about Jamaica, its winning athletic legacy, the warm-hearted people, the reggae music, the Blue Mountain Coffee and the mystery of Trelawny yams.”
The Chinese Diplomat expressed confidence that through the joint efforts of the people of both countries and with the promotion of ‘Brand Jamaica’ during the Games, Jamaica-China relations will be enhanced.
The Bird’s Nest replica will be housed for the school in the Museum of History and Ethnography of the Institute of Jamaica.