'I screamed and bawled'
Raheem Shaw's death hard pill to swallow for Wolmer's Boys' School staff, students
Wolmer's Boys' School fifth-form coordinator and principles of business teacher Karleen Grant (left) looks on as Principal Dwight Pennycooke consoles a student who was grieving the tragic death of his classmate Raheem Shaw. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

WHEN Karleen Grant, the fifth-form coordinator at Wolmer's Boys' School in Kingston, learnt on Wednesday morning that one of her promising students, Raheem Shaw, was dead, she was uncontrollable.

Shaw was shot and killed at his house by his father, a licensed firearm holder, who mistook the boy for a home invader. The incident occurred around 3:15 am on Wednesday.

"I screamed and bawled. I went on the ground and I was uncontrollable. It hit me like a brick," Grant shared with the Jamaica Observer.

Grant, a teacher of principles of business (POB), shared that Shaw, who was a sub-prefect, was a brilliant student and was a budding businessman and investor. She said he was a dedicated and kind student.

"I started a beautification project and I told the boys that we want to work on a notice board and we need some pots for flowers. Raheem was the first to donate when I told them of the project. He brought $1,000 to me and said here you go, Miss. I told him to save $100 a day and I would take it from him at the end of the week.

"I last saw him on Friday. He was my POB student. I marked his work up to Tuesday and he got good grades. He got 18 out of 20 on one test and 100 per cent on another. His death is rough. When you see him, he is always smiling and he is kind-hearted. He never wore a frown. This is a hard pill to swallow. I saw him getting a straight A profile in my subject. He was a very promising young man," she said.

Grant added that Shaw was a member of the school's young investor's club that was teaching him about stocks and how to acquire them as well as entrepreneurship and how to start a business.

Dwight Pennycooke, the Wolmer's Boys' School principal, was grateful for the outpour of support from other institutions, the Ministry of Education, and parents. He remembered Shaw as a basketball lover who sought to play the sport in or out of uniform. The students, especially the ones in his year group, were devastated when they heard of his death and said that the school will be providing ongoing counselling for the boys.

"It is really a sad thing to see such a young life no longer with us. Words can't express how the family must be feeling and we must embrace them at this time. When the students heard the news, every man's head went into their chest. They could not believe it. Everybody is devastated. We kind of shielded the younger ones from this because they would not have known him. Those who knew him more intimately, we sought to really support them and that would have been the fifth-form group.

"In the days to come we will still provide some support because it is not over. When you have to deal with death, it is not a one-time situation. We want to ensure that we provide as much support for our young men going forward. As an exam group they are dealing with two tragedies, two young men that basically grew up with them and so we have to ensure that we provide that psychosocial support to walk them through it to the point where they are able to function as normal as possible," he said, alluding to the May drowning of David Minott, who was a member of Shaw's year group.

Pennycooke added, "I would have interacted with Raheem. I would have to tell him not to play in his uniform on the basketball court. That is a rule here at Wolmer's that says you have to take a change of clothes if you want to play on the multi-purpose court. He loved basketball and was always on the court, so that is how I became aware of him. He is one of our basketballers. He was a good youngster, a good human being. This is a very difficult one."

Jason Cross

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