Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Denbigh High School doing good in the neighbourhood

Published:Monday | April 20, 2020 | 12:08 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Sharon Irons-Francis (left), president of Denbigh High School PTA, and principal Janice Julal prepare to deliver care packages.
Sharon Irons-Francis (left), president of Denbigh High School PTA, and principal Janice Julal prepare to deliver care packages.

DENBIGH HIGH School in Clarendon is joining in the effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 across the parish.

Janice Julal, principal of the Jackson Street-based institution, said that the school has been utilising creative measures to engage the school community since the government-imposed closure earlier last month.

“We have been looking at multiple ways outside of the academics to maintain a connection with all stakeholders. We did an online wellness session with all levels of staff and sent out a Denbigh High family check-in survey to ascertain the needs of parents and students.” Julal said that the survey highlighted very trying situations for some families.

“We recognised that some persons had challenges with no income, having been laid off as a result of the pandemic.”

Asserting that community outreach is one of the institution’s key values, she said her team thought it mandatory to start a food drive to assist persons in need.

“Parents with special needs were asked to contact the principal directly, as maintaining the privacy of these families is important to us. Form teachers were also asked to provide the names of their neediest students, not necessarily those on PATH. We received cash and kind from parents and staff and our parent-teacher association (PTA) executive stepped up to the plate, with PTA President Sharon Irons-Francis not only sponsoring items, but also leading the packaging process of over 70 care packages.”

Irons-Francis, who has been serving in the capacity of PTA president for over a decade, lauded the parents who, she said, were willing to assist, despite some being out of jobs because of the pandemic.

Describing the needs she received, the principal said, “The messages of request from parents were heart-rending, but the expressions of gratitude even more heart-warming.

“It is our hope that we were able to help, even in a small way. After all, if you can’t feed a hundred persons then feed just one.”