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Rusea’s past students donate virtual learning platform, sports facility

Published:Wednesday | December 30, 2020 | 12:11 AMDave Rodney/Gleaner Writer

Rusea’s High School in Lucea is one of the oldest high schools in Jamaica, founded in 1777 by Frenchman Martin Rusea. The school now provides a full-service secondary education for over 2,000 students in the parish of Hanover. The institution is spread out over two seaside campuses – the older campus accommodates grade seven and eight students, and the newer campus houses grades nine and upwards.

Rusea’s has consistently enjoyed all-round success in academics and sports. Most notably, the school has won the coveted daCosta Cup and Olivier Shield competitions for rural and national football supremacy more times than most other schools. Rusea’s is a 10-time daCosta Cup title holder. The school has also enjoyed outstanding performances at every level of track and field, producing world-class talent such as international sprint sensation Merlene Ottey, who won nine Olympic medals.

But despite the accomplishments, Rusea’s finds itself in urgent need of basic facilities to enhance the quality of education that it provides to its students in western Jamaica.

Rusea’s BrotherSister Foundation Inc

A newly established voluntary organisation called Rusea’s BrotherSister Foundation Inc was incorporated in May this year in New York at the height of the pandemic. It is made up of a wide cross section of past students globally, and its mission is to give back to their alma mater, among other objectives. The president and chairman of the organisation is Troy Malcolm, a former star footballer at Rusea’s. Although the organisation is only a few months old, it has already addressed some of the issues related to virtual learning by quickly establishing Internet and email domains for the specific needs of the school community.

“In partnership with Google, we were able to establish virtual-learning platforms and train members of the school faculty to facilitate online learning, which has been particularly useful during this pandemic,” Malcolm told The Gleaner. “The establishment of this domain and the creation of learning delivery platforms by our team has enhanced the school’s ability to communicate, to network and to deliver the online learning required,” he added.

While the creation of the virtual learning platforms have been urgent short-term goals, a more formidable long-term challenge is the reimagining of the school’s sports complex. The existing facility currently lacks adequate bathrooms, change rooms and stands. The vision of the Rusea’s BrotherSister Foundation Inc, a United States 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organisation, is to develop a first-class sports facility over the next two years that will come fully loaded with all the modern, state-of-the-art tools required to further drive excellence.

“We will continue to aggressively raise funds from past students to make this project a reality, and the hope is that it can be leveraged by the school to generate sustainable revenues to further promote the educational, cultural and sporting agendas of the school,” Malcolm explained.