Mom, teacher appeal for help for needy student with big dreamsThursday, March 04, 2021
By Rochelle Clayton
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — A Westmoreland teen, who dreams of one day becoming an electrical engineer, is turning to the public for financial aid to continue his education and, ultimately, become the first of his immediate family to attend university.
Sixteen-year-old Brandon Pinnock, a fourth form student at the Petersfield High School in Westmoreland, is desperately in need of school supplies and uniforms, says his mother, Barbara Stephenson.
“He doesn't have a tablet; he uses a little phone, and we don't have any Internet so every morning he has to go all the way to his older sister in Brighton to do his online classes. We live in Bluefields so it's a little distance from home,” says Stephenson, an ancillary worker at the Mearnsville Primary School, in the parish.
“He was supposed to get uniforms too, but I don't have any money to buy them, so he doesn't have any school uniforms and he is supposed to wear uniforms for online school. If his school should reopen face-to-face, he will not have any uniforms to go,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
Stephenson, a single mother, explained that the young boy's father left when he was only three months old; they have not seen or heard from him since. Brandon has received assistance, she explained, from a teacher at his current school and the PATH programme, which provides him with lunch.
In an interview with Observer West, the teacher, who asked not to be identified by name, explained that the young boy is his former student.
“I met Brandon while he was in the seventh grade; he was in my form class. I immediately realised he was different from the other students. He does not play; he sits by himself and he is very quiet,” he said.
He also noted that the young boy is an exceptional student who works hard to maintain good grades, despite the challenges he faces.
“Brandon is a great student; he is disciplined and works very hard. His assignments are always handed in on time, but I noticed that there were times he would not show up to school and I always wondered why,” he added.
“He placed sixth out of 37 students in his class last year and this is only because he had two zeros on his report. He got those zeros because his mother didn't have the money to send him to do the exams, and I was not aware of that until after speaking to the family,” he said.
He explained that he became aware of the youth's financial difficulties when the young boy brought him a note from his mother.
“The paper explained that the mother only had the fare for him to get to school and she was asking me to provide him with fare to go back home so I started helping him out with fare,” the teacher said.
The family's situation is said to have got worse since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic because his mother has been out of work for months. The family is, therefore, asking for the public's assistance in purchasing school supplies and a tablet for the child. Those wishing to assist are being asked to contact the child's mother, Barbara Stephenson, at (876) 774-9549; or the Petersfield High School Guidance Department at (876) 551-6262 or (876) 278-7092.
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