St James’ lay magistrates join cooling-down efforts at Farm Primary and Infant
The Lay Magistrate Association of Jamaica’s [LMAJ] St James Chapter has donated six fans to Farm Primary and Infant School in St James.
The presentation which was made on Wednesday, September 13, was heartily welcomed and saw both students and teachers beaming with joy.
Donna Wedderburn, Zone 3 leader of the LMAJ St James Chapter and orchestrator of the donation, said the team was happy to be able to make the contribution. She explained that the gesture was in response to an article published in The Gleaner on Tuesday, September 5, which detailed the discomfort being experienced by the young students of Farm Primary as a result of the current heat wave across the island. A photograph of a student using a frozen bottled drink as an impromptu icepack, accompanied the article.
“I woke up early in the morning and saw The Gleaner, it just grabbed me and I felt the pain because I know the heat is terrible. It’s the best we could do because the school has been around for years, (and is) a little bit under-served if you ask. It prompted me to go to my team members and say ‘Listen, we have to do something’, and nobody hitched. Everyone came onboard,” Wedderburn said.
The donation comes one week after Gul Mansukhani, managing director of Pavilion Jewellers, initiated a drive within the local Indian community to donate a total of 365 fans to 70 schools across the country.
Farm Primary and Infant School received 20 of those fans. Those along with the recently donated six fans bring their current total of fans received to 26.
Wedderburn said it cost almost $60,000 to purchase the six fans, but the members believe that though not enough, it’s a good start.
“Being here at the school today, I am perspiring, so I can just imagine what the children are going through. I am begging and pleading for those persons who can, we are encouraging you to come onboard and support the school so we can get more fans,” said Wedderburn. “Just looking at their faces showing gratitude was awesome. The little that we did has impacted them so much.”
Suzette Ramdanie-Linton, president of the LMAJ St James Chapter, acknowledged that the fans were well needed.
“For the grade six students, it is their final year and one of their most important years because of the Primary Exit Profile [PEP]. Being able to help these children to be in a more comfortable environment which will help them concentrate better is a good feeling. They will pay greater attention to their schoolwork, which I hope will have better results for the school,” Ramdanie-Linton said.
“One of the core functions of the LMAJ is to give back to the community. As justices of the peace, we want our community members to always know that we are there for them to seek support. Whether it is a school, a clinic, a child or elderly person, we really go out into our community for persons to know who we are,” Ramdanie-Linton added.
The LMAJ’s St James chapter plans to head into other schools in the zone that are in similar need.
Farm Primary and Infant’s Principal, Richard Miller, expressed surprise at the outpouring of support for the school.
“I am touched, really touched. In one week of the new school year we now have 26 fans. When people saw the article, they were sharing it in their group and saying we can’t allow this to happen to our students, so we have to do something,” Miller told The Gleaner. “This will make our students cooler, my teachers cooler and myself cooler.
“The fact that corporate Jamaica has reached out to us, and now the LMAJ St James Chapter got us these fans, now the heat won’t be so harsh on the students. We are grateful for everyone who helped and came onboard to relieve us from this excruciating heat we have been experiencing,” Miller added with a smile.
Trudi-Ann Fletcher, a grade-five teacher of Farm Primary and Infant School, who had used her own funds to purchase a fan for her classroom, expressed her profound gratitude for the latest donation.
“I am overjoyed, and it made my heart melt knowing that corporate Jamaica, and other Jamaicans donated fans here. The heat won’t be so much in the classroom like before and the students will be more comfortable and concentrating on their work. I am happy because it was well needed,” said Fletcher.