Teen empties bank account to help basic school
Olga Mendez Basic School laid a solid foundation for Romain Kenton, who is now one of the Governor-General Youth Ambassadors and a first-year student at The Mico University College.
After basic school, he went on to the Clan Carthy Primary, then Clan Carthy High, where he excelled in academics, passing all the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations he sat.
But the conditions under which the early childhood institution is operating these days have caused Kenton to wonder if the school's staff is capable of effectively educating the students.
"They don't have any light (electricity). There's no gas most of the time to prepare meals for the students, therefore, they don't spend a lot of time teaching the students," Kenton told THE STAR.
"They have to depend on the sun to see the blackboard. So, on days when it's raining and it's dark, it's difficult for the students to see the board."
Peeved by the consequences the situation might have on the current students, Kenton emptied his bank account many times to provide gas for the students. He said two weeks ago he used the $15,000 he got from the pageants he has served as judge for in the Corporate Area to buy crayons, books and pencils for the students.
"Next week Thursday I am having a treat for the students at the school where I will have professionals come in to read to them and also provide food for them," Kenton explained.
Veniesha Shaw, principal of Olga Mendez, which is located off Windward Road in east Kingston, said the money she collects per term from the parents is not enough to operate the school.
"We have 34 students on roll now, and it's only $4,000 per student each term, so that is hard to pay for light and provide gas to cook meals, plus other stuff," Shaw told THE STAR. "Before you called, I was just telling someone that I need gas because it blow out on Monday."
During Kenton's time at the school, the population was just above 50 students.
"We weren't in those conditions because it was more of us. We definitely had light," Kenton said.
The 18 year old is now calling on corporate Jamaica to provide help for the needy basic school.
"I have reached out to some individuals who promised to come in on Labour Day and help with the painting," Kenton said. "If a business entity could just assist with the light that would be great because if someone wants to do any audiovisual, it is impossible because there is no electricity."