No lights, bad roads hamper STETHS' Champs progress

January 23, 2018
STETHS' class three boys, 4x100 relay team at Boys and Girls' Champs 2016.

St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) track and field coach Reynaldo Walcott, says that poor infrastructure in the parish has prevented the school from breaking into the top five at Boys' Champs after finishing fifth at the last three meets.

Walcott, 29, said unlit streets and bad roads have caused him to cut his practice time to suit parents who are worried when students leave practice at the Santa Cruz school after 5 p.m.

"If six o'clock hits and the child doesn't reach home, the parent is going to call you because when the taxi lets off that child, it's a walking to the community and there are no street lights," Walcott said. "This happens more often with the females, even the males, too."

Walcott explained that rural schools that perform well at Boys and Girls' Champs normally have boarding facilities, a privilege he does not have at his school now.

He said that Corporate Area schools, which have dominated the top five places in the boys' section for the last decade, are also at an advantage with transportation available through the evenings.

"One of the things about STEHS is that the parents pay for their children's transportation in advance to avoid them taking three or four buses to get home," Walcott explained. "If they miss those buses because of training, their parents are going to ask us to pay for the child to get home."

Despite the challenge, Walcott said that he expects his boys to finish fourth this year. "The top three may be out of reach right now, but we're not taking it off the table. Realistically, we are at fifth, trying to finish fourth," he said.

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