Class of 1989 donates $600k to help Oberlin High School with COVID-19 safety measuresTuesday, April 06, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— As part of efforts to bolster the health and safety measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the graduating class of 1989 donated $600,000 to Oberlin High School, to help with sanitation projects.
The funds, which were handed over during a ceremony today was raised through the contribution of approximately 50 members of the Class of '89 and other alumni representatives of the West Rural St Andrew high school.
According to a statement from the school, the donation will significantly enhance the ability of the school to meet the stipulated protocols of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information as well as those of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, commended the efforts noting, “It is great when past students can look back to their schools from which they came and get involved with initiatives like these to help the school.”
The minister indicated that, even as the nation looks forward to the resumption of face to face classes, the approach will be revised.
“We know that it's not going to be the same as when we went into the pandemic. The children and teachers have gotten more use to technology so we are going to see a blended approach to learning as we go forward. We will still see lessons in the virtual world and with that we will be able to bring more information, more knowledge and more resources to the students so they can have a richer experience,” she said.
Principal of Oberlin High School, Michelle Spencer said, “I am feeling very optimistic and very grateful for the initiative of the past students to come on board at a time when we are really in need.”
“Safety is our number one priority so most of the money we receive will be focused on buying additional sanitizers, soap, alcohol, sanitary products and masks,” she said.
Prior to COVID-19, Spencer said the institution had begun building a hand wash station at the lower school but were not able to complete the project.
“These funds will help us finish the hand wash station as well as replace a water pump that was stolen by thieves in early 2021,” she noted.
In August 2020, four members of the graduating class of 1989 and another from the class of 1991 began a fundraising initiative by galvanizing support from their alumni across Jamaica, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. She was assisted on the initiative by class of 89 alumni Neil Howell, Dennis Rainford, Winston Dawkins and Karen Gayle Danvers from class of 91.
Nola Wright, brainchild of the fundraiser, said the initiative was inspired by a news article she read where similar efforts of a close friend at another prominent high school raised $300,000.
“This initiative was born out of the “I can do that too” feeling. I really wanted to help my school in meeting the COVID-19 measures in order to make the environs a safe space for students when face to face classes resume.”
“We hope that this effort will inspire other members of the Oberlin alumni to get involved and see how best they too can help their alma mater,” Wright said.
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