Regional

Another gift for Cacoon

Retired UK lecturer gives back to her alma mater; makes second donation of books in a year

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

Thursday, May 08, 2014    

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CACOON, Hanover —The Cacoon Primary School nested in the deep rural community of Cacoon in western Hanover, last week received a much-needed gift, which consists of more than 1,000 books valued at over $1.5 million.

The books were donated by retired UK-based lecturer and former publisher, Merrise Crooks-Bishton, who attended the school more than 55 years ago.

The donation included story books, dictionaries, general knowledge, languages, religious materials and activity.

Principal of the Cacoon Primary, Carole Grant, in accepting the donation said the welcome gift will assist the students in their literacy programme.

"I'm really and truly grateful for the gift of books from Mrs Bishton who is a past student of this school. And I know the books are going to help the children in their literacy improvement, because that's the drive. The target is 80.6 per cent this year. They (students) need new books and these books are really fascinating, they will motivate the children to want to read, and that is our aim," expressed a grateful Grant.

She added that the target group for the books is grade four.

"The grade four group is the target group, because the grade four literacy is the benchmark for the schools and for the children to be able to transition to grade six, they have to master literacy at the grade four level," explained Grant.

The donation of books to the school by Bishton-Crooks was the second within the last year.

Last May, she donated 100 books from her personal library to the institution that had laid the foundation for her successful career.

"I visited the school early last year and met the teachers and I was so impressed with what I saw. I was so overwhelmed with the children so I thought if I could do anything to help this school I would. So, the first thing I did was to go back (UK) and on my next visit (Jamaica) I brought a gift of 100 books for the school, because I realised there was a shortage of books resources here, and I thought the area I could help in is the area I work in which has to do with books," she explained.

She said the teachers and students were grateful and hence her decision to continue doing what she can for the school.

The books donated last week, she said, came from libraries that are closing, donation made through social media, friends in the business of publishing and family members, adding that most of the books

are new.

In 1957, Crooks-Bishton was one of two students at the school who were successful in her Jamaica Local Examination.

She later left Cacoon for the United Kingdom, where she continued her education.

Several years later, the Jamaica native became a lecturer at several institutions in the UK, as well as a leading publisher.

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