Excitement was in the air as students returned to school after the long summer break yesterday.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Works — coupled with a host of work rallies organised by Angela Young, many of the schools were in a better condition than they were last year.
The Minister of Education Diallo Rabain visited some schools to mark the first day including Elliot Primary School where his daughter Layla attends while David Burt, the Premier, took time out to spend time with children at Northlands Primary School.
Acting principal at West Pembroke Primary School Wendell Smith said the students were keen to be back at school. Mr Smith said: “They had a wonderful start to the school year, it has been a lovely day. We had a school assembly at ten o’clock this morning and reviewed all the rules. The children are excited to see their friends after the summer, that might sound surprising but the students here love school and we have teachers who make learning fun. It is extremely positive.”
Pembroke Primary was one of the schools to benefit from the work done over the summer and Mr Smith said the school is in great shape.
“First of all, the site probably looks better than it has ever looked since I have been here thanks to the work rally. We had about 120 hours of parental help and help from teachers. We had them from 5pm to 8pm on four evenings.
“We had four book rooms cleared out and the books re-shelved, the desks and chairs were cleaned, the windows, everything. The place looks pristine and clean. The grass has been cut it has been freshly painted inside and out. It has been very, very good. This school has extremely strong parental support even before the work rallies. The rallies gave us excellent support. It has gotten us off to a fantastic start.
“Not everything is perfect, we still need to get on top of our computer needs but Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Harrington Sound Primary School deputy Cindy Weeks was equally enthusiastic about the first day of school saying it was a smooth transition for students: “The new P1 students transitioned very well, they settled in, and the returning students were all excited to be back in school. The new P1s are wide-eyed and full of excitement. We are looking forward to having another year of excellence.
“Everyone worked very hard to make sure that we were open for the new school year. The work rally came to Harrington Sound on two or three occasions. They were very helpful in assisting our custodians with getting everything up and running and ready to go.
“They even came back to help teachers getting their classes organised. It was a fabulous initiative and I hope that it is something that can continue because regardless of the fact that our custodians work very hard it is always very good to have that extra set of hands so we were really appreciative of Ms Young and her group. We are excited and we are ready.”
Thanks to community activist Gina Spence, scores of students benefited from her Each One Reach One initiative that provided families with school uniforms, bags, supplies and free haircuts. Many of the families aided through the initiative have lost parents to road fatalities, murder and illness.
Each One Reach One saw more than 1,000 items of clothing given out as well as 56 back packs, ten lunch bags, 100 haircuts and more. It helped those students who might be struggling, to get a step ahead.
Mr Rabain also paid a visit to CedarBridge Academy where he was given the opportunity to see the newly installed bleachers in the gymnasium.
Prospect Primary School recently opened its doors to show the progress made over the summer including a newly polished gym floor and a fresh paint job.
Victor Scott principal Stephen Coddington said there were mixed emotions at his school. “There were a lot of happy parents, a few crying P1 students and some rather more focused P6s and P6 parents. Everything seems to be going well — works are still ongoing here but classes are more or less as they should be.”