JTA calls for corporate support for fire-damaged Seaforth High

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

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PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Dr Garth Anderson is calling on corporate Jamaica to help Seaforth High School recover from the fire that gutted a section of the facility early Saturday.

The Visual Arts Department of the St Thomas-based school was destroyed, along with students' School-Based Assessment (SBA) work which was scheduled to be submitted to Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) this month as part of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exam. Twenty-eight students are reportedly affected in that regard.

The technical drawing, cosmetology, and building technology departments suffered water and smoke damage.

The fire occurred shortly after 5:00 am.

Dr Anderson, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, said the Overseas Examinations Commission — the local representative for international exams — is making the necessary arrangements to facilitate students affected.

He said students are still in a state of shock and that several are going through a period of sadness and confusion.

“Having gone to see the devastation, we are going to be advocating as it relates to having discussions with the Ministry of Education, and we [will] also use our platform to call on corporate Jamaica, and other well-thinking Jamaicans who can so assist, to give all the assistance that they can to help the school to come back to some level of normalcy,” Dr Anderson said.

He said the school's administration has been proactive and forward-thinking in its response to the incident, and has taken “creative measures” to accommodate students.

“We are also happy that the administration of the school has been in discussion with the Overseas Examination [Commission] because, as we know, it is the start of CXC and they have been very kind to make alternative arrangements to accommodate the students who would be affected at Seaforth High School,” Dr Anderson noted.

Anderson said he was, however, not up to date on the details of those arrangements.

He said neighbouring schools have been offering assistance, with several donating desks and chairs among other much-needed items.

Dr Anderson added that the school's immediate need is exam supplies, and indicated that the JTA would be in discussion with the school to see how best it can assist.

Yesterday, a team from the Ministry of Education visited the school to obtain a more detailed report on the damage done, a ministry release said.

Seaforth is one of four secondary schools in St Thomas.


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