North & East

US charity RCM gives computer lab to Fair Prospect High

BY HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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It took an investment of US$120,000 (about J$15.3 million) to make the dream of Fair Prospect High School having its own computer laboratory come true.

Now, the co-educational institution of 761 students who commute to the school from Portland and St Thomas, can boast about the acquisition of the Martha Duncan Reid Computer Laboratory — a gift from New York, United States-based charity RCM Development & Community Services Inc — which officially turned its lights on and swung its doors open last Thursday at the institution's eastern Portland site.

It was the third school to have benefited from the generosity of RCM — an acronym that bears the Christian initials of the three principals behind the initiative — Roy Reid, the president, Claudette Phipps, the secretary and Merton Owens, who serves as treasurer of the not-for-profit organisation. In the last two years, Islington High School, later renamed Horace Clarke High School, and Petersfield High School have been the beneficiaries.

The computer laboratory parades 20 computers, desks and chairs, along with a central server in a refurbished, air-conditioned room and which was officially opened with the cutting of a ribbon by Louise Duncan Peart, sister of the now deceased Martha Duncan Reid, originally of Fair Prospect, who is the mother of Roy Reid.

Reid expressed joy at the fact that the group was able to support the school and pledged that one needy high school school in every parish would be sponsored. Next in line are two schools in Clarendon and Manchester, Reid said.

He also stated that another support programme for students at Fair Prospect High would be implemented soon, whereby those who are facing challenges with their vision will be assisted with medical examinations and fitted with glasses if necessary, at no cost to them.

Reid, a former policeman in the Jamaica Constabulary Force who runs his own business, headquartered in Manhattan, USA, has been associated with several Jamaican charity initiatives that the former Police and Clarendon Senior Cup and Junior Cup cricketer spearheaded or collaborated with others of like mind domiciled in the North American country.

Owens said that the group would continue to support Jamaica's education system as long as it was possible to do so, emphasising that communities that were “underserved” would be given priority attention.

Guest speaker, Rev Michael Aiken, who is also a motivational speaker, charged the students to always strive for the best and to position themselves to grab opportunities whenever they arise. He warned that although technology was useful, there were also dangers associated with it that if not dealt with adequately, could have devastating consequences.

“Technology can be a beauty or a beast in your life,” he told students gathered under a tent, and others spread across the acreage of the property.

Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern, medical practitioner Dr Lynvale Bloomfield urged unity among stakeholders in the Fair Prospect fraternity in order to achieve goals that he suggested were achievable.

He hailed the contribution made by RCM, suggesting that such donations could only redound to the benefit of the nation.

“This is a wonderful day in the life of the school,” Dr Bloomfield said. “We must continue to work together as a family.”

Custos of Portland and former principal of Titchfield High School in the parish Capt Lincoln Thaxter brought greetings, while the welcome was extended by student Peta-Gaye Clarke, scripture reading by Shana Parkes, and the introduction of the function's chairman Shavar Bailey by Daviena Stewart.

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