North & East

NW St Ann youth parliamentarian impacting lives

BY RENAE DIXON
Observer staff reporter
dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 06, 2018

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SHE is only 17 years old, but already Sandrene McKenzie is displaying signs of a good politician.

McKenzie, who just completed her studies at Westwood High School in Trelawny, is the youth parliamentarian for St Ann North Western.

This is a role the teen has embraced and is determined to make an impact.

“Persons have been telling me I would be a good fit [for politics], so I have been considering it. I enjoy helping people and seeing the smiles on their faces,” she said, adding that even if her future does not include politics, she will be serving in other capacities.

McKenzie has been undertaking many projects in the constituency with the assistance of the Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Dayton Campbell. While she receives much guidance from the MP, McKenzie has been single handedly identifying issues across the constituency and has been seeking to address them.

One of her most impactful projects is renovation being carried out at Lilly Field Basic School in the community of Bamboo.

McKenzie told the Jamaica Observer North & East that she was compelled to help the school because of the horrible condition it was in.

The teen said she had gone to a nearby playing field to do some work when she saw the dilapidated building, which she later found out housed a basic school.

“When I first went there I didn't know it was a school. I said it cannot stay like this,” she explained.

She then sought help from Dr Campbell to undertake a Labour Day project at the institution.

The one day was not enough to transform the school, so McKenzie explored other ways to help the school.

Since the break for the summer holidays work has been ongoing there.

However, McKenzie said the school still needs more assistance.

“They don't have running water and they don't have a tank,” she pointed out.

She said, too, that there is also an unfinished building which was earmarked as a computer lab but lack of funding crippled the idea.

“It would be great if others could come on board and assist with [resources],” she said.

Work so far include repainting the outside of the building, classrooms, desks and chairs, field equipment, refurbishing the roof, installation of ceiling fans and a new door.

“Partnership is key in effecting change. With this in mind, I partnered with the St Ann Probation Office, particularly Sophia McKenzie, community service officer, and Follon Lewin, to get young men who were on community service orders to offer their services and skills in bettering the lives of the occupants of the basic school,” McKenzie said.

Principal of the school, Vivine Campbell, said parents and teachers were pleased with the work McKenzie has done at the institution.

“Words are inadequate to express how I am feeling; she has been doing a great job. I appreciate it so much. The parents are happy; they are excited,” she said.

She said the 53-year-old school was relocated to a section of the community shortly before Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The former building was destroyed in that hurricane.

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