JIS News

Students of Crescent Primary School in St. Catherine, their teachers and parents wait anxiously for Labour Day (May 24), when the school will receive road safety improvements, aimed at making the students’ journey to and from school a lot safer.
On that day, the school, which is the site of the National Labour Day Project, will benefit from a number of road safety upgrades totalling $3.5 million.The improvements include the construction of two bus sheds on either side of the road where the school is located; the construction of two lay-bys to facilitate taxis and other public transportation; and the installation of two driver feedback signs, donated by the National Commercial Bank and British Caribbean Insurance Company Limited.
There will also be the relocation and repainting of the pedestrian crossing and the installation of flashing signs at the crossing.
Iris Lewis, Principal of the school was elated on hearing that her school would benefit from the much needed road safety improvements, and expressed gratitude to the Labour Day Secretariat for choosing the school.
She explains that the institution is in a precarious position as it is located between a main road, Brunswick Avenue, and a train line.In addition, growth in enrolment, coupled with the increase in the number of motor vehicles, has resulted in numerous accidents involving the school’s students.
The lack of road safety facilities has led to an average of three major road accidents per year involving students from the school.
“Over the years, the community has grown and the traffic has increased. As a result we have encountered a number of problems. One is the speed at which motorists drive. It appears the motorists use the road as a racetrack at times,” she notes.
“In addition, there is no lay-by and the road is narrow, so the taxi men who are dropping off or picking up the school children tend to stop at the school gate. This causes traffic to back up because this road is the main road leading to the north of the island,” she says.
The presence of lay-bys will ensure that the children can get on and off taxis and buses in a safe environment, Mrs. Lewis tells JIS News.
The work on Labour Day will boost previous efforts of teachers, parents and community members to do their own improvements, but which have been stymied by financial constraints.
“On hearing the announcement of this project, we were so excited because we have been trying over the years to help ourselves. There were times when we painted the pedestrian crossing. The community tried their best but they couldn’t come up with enough money to do anything else,” Mrs. Lewis says.
The Principal tells JIS News that the students are very happy that their safety concerns are being dealt with and that their school is chosen as the national project.
“The children themselves are very excited about this project, expressing pride that their school has been chosen over so many other schools islandwide and are happy that they will be safer to cross the road,” she says.
As part of the project, the school’s bathroom will be re-roofed and plumbing work done. The school and surrounding areas will also be beautified.
Eleven year-old student, Chrystal Thomas is brimming with excitement over the school’s good fortune. “I feel very excited about it. This is a very positive thing for the school and it is an opportunity for the school to show its beauty,” she tells JIS News.
Little Chrystal notes that all the students are excited about the improvements as well.
Community members, ever supportive of efforts to ensure the safety of the children, will be out in full force to help with the construction and installation of the lay-bys and bus sheds.
“As it is a very big project, the parents and community members are willing to contribute their labour and we are not going to stop until we get as many persons as possible involved,” Mrs. Lewis says.
Labour Day is being observed under the theme: “Road Safety First.Avoid the Worst”. This theme was chosen in the face of worrying statistics recorded by the Road Safety Unit of 98 fatalities from 91 traffic accidents since the start of the year. Eight children have died as a result of these accidents.
Based on the theme, nation-wide activities planned for Labour Day will focus on pedestrian safety.
The Crescent school was opened in 1938 in the Cow Market district, which is almost 2 kilometres from its present location in Angels. At that time it catered mainly to students from Reid’s Mountain, Crescent and Simon district across the Rio Cobre.
By 1954, however, a high influx of pupils from the areas of Guy’s Hill, Mount Rosser, Old Harbour and as far as Kingston and St. Thomas led to the construction of new facilities at its present location.
Currently, the majority of students hail from the Winter’s Pen area, with many attending from the Angels, Gordon Pen, Dam Head and Crescent Hill communities.
The school’s motto is: “Only the best is good enough”. The pledge is reinforced by its mission statement in which the teachers promise to develop the whole child, physically, intellectually, morally and spiritually.
Crescent Primary operates 6 grades with a student population of 1,350. It has 42 teachers, including a principal, two vice principals and a guidance counsellor.

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