Residents of Sawyers in Trelawny are hailing the upgrading work done on the community’s primary school by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
The project, undertaken at a cost of $21 million, included construction of a new sanitation block and reading room, erection of perimeter fencing, provision of water tanks, and an industrial stove and freezer for the canteen.
Clevy Armstrong, who was one of the first students to attend the school when it opened in 1948, expressed gratitude to JSIF. He said the improvements will enhance learning at the institution.
“The community boasts a splendid refurbished building to accommodate our children in a clean, hospitable, sanitary and healthy learning environment. It is also a conducive environment for our teachers, who are now more energised to work with our children so that they can learn better,” Mr. Armstrong said at the recent handing over ceremony.
He noted that the community has been given a lasting legacy.
“JSIF, you have made our dream come true; you have left us a legacy. We will stand by the teachers to see to it that no vandalism takes place, and that everything is maintained and kept to the best,” he stated.
“We want you to know of the great significance this is to us in Sawyers and surrounding communities. This is a very valuable gift which will be highly cherished at all levels, and we are grateful to all who contributed,” Mr. Armstrong added.
Principal of the institution, Shelly-Ann Griffiths, said the school is a “beacon” in the community and has vowed to protect it for the lasting development of the area.
Longtime teacher at the school, Patricka Clarke, stated that the improved and secure environment will provide a boost for the 106 students and six teachers.
“I am truly happy. Children will be coming to a very safe environment, bathroom facilities are here, and a kitchen, where they will get warm meals every day,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Linda Miller, urged the school community to take responsibility for the “wonderful, new learning environment” which they have been provided.
“We are going to protect Sawyers Primary School and we are not going to destroy it. This new school belongs to the community, and we have to take the very best care of it,” she stated.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter