Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Johnson family comes good for Fullerswood students

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:25 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Dave Johnson (in blue cap) assists in handing out school bags to students at the Fullerswood Primary and Infant School in St Elizabeth recently.
Dave Johnson (in blue cap) assists in handing out school bags to students at the Fullerswood Primary and Infant School in St Elizabeth recently.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Some 700 students, drawn mostly from four St Elizabeth communities, are now operating in much greater comfort, thanks to a gift of backpacks, valued at US$17,000, which were donated to them by a Jamaican family living in the United States.

Earlier this month, members of the Johnson family, which have close ties to St Elizabeth, visited the Fullerswood Primary and Infant School, where they participated in a back-to-school treat, just ahead of the Government’s phased reopening of schools across the island.

After being out of school since March 2020, at the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Fullerswood Primary and Infant School was one of the schools which started face-to-face classes on Monday, November 8.

During the handover exercise at the school, Dave Johnson, speaking on behalf of the Johnson family, told the parents and students who had gathered for the event that he had fond memories of attending the school during his childhood days.

“This school is within walking distance from the house I lived in as a boy,” recalled Johnson. “My family has enjoyed success since we left here, so I am extremely happy to come back here and give back to this school and this community.”

While support from the Johnsons targeted mainly students from Fullerswood, Arlington, Vineyard, and Punches/Cattaboo, they also extended their generosity to students from other schools via an organised mobile distribution in other communities.

According to Johnson, his family is fully aware of the severe economic hardship facing many students and their parents, a situation that has worsened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We recognised the difficulties and challenges facing the residents and, therefore, the need for a helping hand. The best way to assist is in education, as this builds a community. The schools, therefore, become the focal point,” said Johnson.

The donation of the backpacks is just a part of the family’s overall plans to assist the various schools and communities, especially the Fullerswood Primary and Infant School. The family has announced that an additional US$10,000 will be donated for improvement works at the school.

For the residents who benefited from the backpacks, which contained books, pens, and pencil kits, among other school supplies, the Johnsons’ help came at a most opportune time, as many were struggling to get their back-to-school affairs in order.

Tisha Patrick-Rowe, acting principal at Fullerswood Primary and Infant School, applauded the generosity of the Johnson family and stated that their contribution has made a difference in many ways.

“This has lifted the morale of the staff, as with the students being comfortable, it will create the atmosphere for learning to take place,” said Patrick-Rowe. “We are thankful to the family and wish them well in their future endeavours.”