Scores of children from the Drew’s Avenue Primary School had the opportunity to ride the country’s railways from Spanish Town to Linstead on Friday (May 26).
Despite strike action being led by teachers across the island, organisers of the school’s trip said the sheer excitement and interest generated by the planned excursion was so great that to forgo the visit would have completely dampened the school spirit.
“We had been planning the visit for months and just about everyone was super excited to head out to the rails. Teachers and parents alike had signed up in droves, so we couldn’t let them down,” said Principal Duane Forbes.
The principal further explained that the teachers at the institution were in full support of proceeding with the scheduled visit, noting that they collectively agreed that it was just too important of an activity.
“Many of the children were not even aware that Jamaica had a railway service, and most of the parents had heard of it but thought it was no longer operational, so both groups were excited; and it provided a great learning opportunity. I really enjoyed seeing the bonding experience between the parents and their children,” he added.
Some of the parents who accompanied their children on the trip expressed similar sentiments, noting that they had never seen so many parents and children turn out to a school field trip.
“It was awesome. First time, I am seeing so many parents turn out. My daughter thought it was exciting and fun, plus we both learned something, I wasn’t aware that there were so many tunnels on the line,” said Shanicke Whittley, whose daughter is in Grade 2 at the school.
Similarly, parent Janelle Housen, who has three children attending the school, shared that it was her first time aboard a train adding that she was elated to have the opportunity to share the experience with her children.
“It was exciting, and it was entertaining, I think I enjoyed the experience so much because it was my first time ever on a train. The persons responsible for the train were very polite, they greeted both the children and adults with respect even though they were stern in maintaining our safety; sharing with us the need to remain seated and to keep our hands inside despite our desire to capture the event with our phones,” said Housen.
“Not until the day of the trip, did I know that the railway service was still operational, and I learned so much from Mr Cohen, who explained the dynamics of how the train works including the gatekeepers at the various crossings, as well, as the intricacy about how the location of the train’s back and front switches when it has completed its journey,” Housen added.
The excursion saw upwards of 200 students from the Waterhouse-based institution attending, following the train ride they enjoyed a picnic and fun day event on the lawns near Tru Juice.
– Denieca Brown