JDF soldiers give Norwood Basic School facelift

Western News

JDF soldiers give Norwood Basic School facelift

Thursday, January 14, 2021

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — On a normal school day, children at the Norwood Basic School in Montego Bay would be frolicking on the playground after it would have been nicely manicured – caring not who had done it.

But had this happy bunch been there on December 30 when members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) were mowing grass, the lads, in particular, might have expressed their desire of wanting to become soldiers.

This is customary for young boys.

Having established a base in the Hendon Norwood community for the past three years, the soldiers patrolled the area on a regular basis. It was during one such reconnaissance leading up to the recent holidays that Warrant Officer Class II (W2O) Wayne Morris and his team, who is assigned to the Burke Barracks in Flanker, observed that the schoolyard had been overgrown with grass and shrubs.

And they decided to do something about it.

The school's principal, Barbara Black, shared how things unfolded.

“I received a call from W2O Morris, who enquired what kind of assistance I would need at the school. We had a discussion about the premises. And since the building had already been painted, we focused our attention on the grounds to have the yard cut,” she said.

A few days later, Morris led a squad from headquarters and support company, the Second Battalion Jamaica regiment to the school. They downed their guns, picked up weed-whackers, rakes and machetes instead and got to work, giving the yard a nice facelift, much to the delight of several residents who expressed their satisfaction.

“The soldiers have given our schoolyard a new look, which it was very much in need of. It had not been cut since schools had been closed in March last year. This will help us to elevate our standard required to pass the public health requirement. We are grateful, likewise the community and the children,” said Black, who has been the principal at the institution since 2010.

“This is community service-based. We reached out to the community. We saw where they needed some help to spruce up the basic school and we simply offered to assist and it was granted,” said Morris.

The Norwood Basic School was founded in 1986 by Beverley Campbell. The building is often used for various community meetings, as well as a polling station during general elections, while the ground is used as a football field by locals.

The school generally has a population of between 95 and 100 students. However, since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the number has dwindled to approximately 60, Black said.

And like most other schools, these students are engaged in virtual classes until the health authorities have given the all clear for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

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