$1m boost for St Mary High School’s cadet drum corps
THE DRUM corps division of the St Mary High School Cadets got a huge boost on Thursday when a group of past cadets of the school presented their alma mater with instruments valued at over $1 million.
The handover took place at the school, with former Sergeant Mario Thomas presenting the instruments to Principal Jullett Frazer-Sadaar and Vice Principal Major Christine Wright.
Frazer-Sadaar expressed delight at the gifts and noted that the cadet unit was recently awarded by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission for outstanding service to the parish of St Mary.
Thomas noted that the donation is a continuation of the group’s support of the school, which includes recent donations toward the school bench project, installation of a whiteboard for the cadet stores, and over $100,000 to assist in sending cadets to the annual camp.
The chief organiser of the donation, former company sergeant and former head boy at the school, Adrian Palmer, said the instruments are meant to return the drum corps to its former glory as the unit has traditionally transcended the school’s borders with its excellence, bringing joy to communities across the parish wherever they play.
Palmer, who is based in Trinidad and Tobago, explained that in August last year, a group of former cadets received information that the cadet unit’s drum corps needed instruments.
“Immediately, I flashed back to over a decade ago. I remember we had those same needs and our prayers were, ‘if only some of our ex-cadets could donate some things for us, the unit would be much better’,” Palmer recalled.
He said their prayers were not answered so he decided this group of past cadets would be the answer to that prayer.
Motivated by faith and courage, Palmer said they set about trying to raise the US$7,500 to foot the bill for the items needed, resorting to using the GoFundMe platform. In the end, they raised US$7,677, approximately J$1.1 million.
“Today we are happy that as past students and past cadets, we are able to make this contribution to our beloved school,” Palmer said. He urged the cadets to care for the items and use them to make “beautiful music and melodies” to enrich the culture of the school, the parish, and the country.
The items were sourced overseas and include a ceremonial mace with the school’s name inscribed, two mace cords, two bass drums with carriers, five pairs of bass mallets, one bass drum sling, six tenor drums, 16 pairs of tenor mallets, 12 tenor drum slings, four snare drums with carriers, 24 pairs of drum sticks, two cymbals, three G bugles, 14 bugle slings (in school colours), five mouth pieces, five B Flat flutes, a pair of white gauntlets, 150 pairs of marching band gloves, nine drum keys, and six cleaning kits.