Arcadia Stands Tall, While Resources Fall Short

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Arcadia Stands Tall, While Resources Fall Short


SUPPORTING & Celebrating: Arcadia Primary was recently ranked by the National Education Inspectorate Jamaica (NEI) as one of the top schools reviewed, placing third. This is a notable achievement for a school that doesn’t even have a computer for its students.

Arcadia 200px-Saint_Thomas_in_Jamaica.svgLocated in the small community of the same name in the hills of St Thomas, Arcadia, Jamaica currently schools 50 students. It used to be an all-age institution, but the grade seven to nine section was removed. Since then, principal Carmen Chambers has noted dwindling numbers. This school has the capacity to house up to 155 students, but lacks the funding to accommodate such numbers, and families are being forced to send their children outside the district for education, an unnecessary cost for many. Take Action and help this wonderful little school, ranking third in its country without even proper equipment. Can you imagine what these educators could accomplish with only a little financial assistance?

“Every year when we lose some, the intake is not that much,” she said. “We could have had a few more still, but parents chose to send them outside (the community).” Unlike other schools, donations from big companies don’t roll in.

“Because the school is so small, maybe some people don’t think they should offer us anything,” she said.

“When we do ask for help, we rarely get any.”

Scotiabank painted the school on Labour Day and community members help out when they can. But the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education funds are small and the school’s own efforts don’t do much.

“When we do fund-raising up here, because the population is very small, we don’t raise a lot, so we’re always looking for funds.”

She admitted the community, in general, is not blessed with an abundance of resources. The roads, for example, are in need of repair. She said only a few parents really work closely with the school and those who do are not financially well-off.

“Economy-wise, the community is really struggling, and so the school struggles with it.”

Caribbean knowledge lacking

But the school scored highly in areas such as management and teaching support. One of their weak areas was that students lacked knowledge of the wider Caribbean.

“We have prepared a School Improvement Plan and all the recommendations have been included in there, so we have been on a drive since then to collect different material we can use,” she said.

Chambers said they had received several calls from well-wishers after the NEI report came out and she is hoping the recognition will spur more people into action.


SONY DSCCarmen Chambers (left), principal of Arcadia Primary School in St Thomas, Lindsay Templer of Digicel Foundation (centre) and Karl Gaynor, CEO, Camara Jamaica Foundation, give students Rasheda Samuels and Chadane Webb their first lesson on the computer.

Occasion was the donation of ‘two computers‘ by the Digicel Foundation to the school.

Arcadia computersDuring one of our most recent computer handovers to Arcadia Primary in St. Thomas, the Digicel Foundation promised that we would have at least 100 schools approved by the end of August. We are proud to say that we have met and exceeded our mark, with more than 150 schools approved so far. The Virgie O’ Connor Basic School is the 100th school to have been approved under the programme and we are happy to be a part of their further development and growth,” noted Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation. READ MORE

Recently ranked by the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) as one of the top schools reviewed, Arcadia Primary School in St Thomas has accomplished this feat without much access to information communication technology (ICT).- Norman Grindley, Jamaica Star reports.

* This “little school that could” is holding the 3rd placement in her country, sans financial support – can you only imagine what she ‘would’ accomplish with a little of Your Assistance?

“These children deserve anything they can get,” she said. “They’re not just going to stay in the community; they are going to get out into the world. They need the exposure.”

Arcadia ComputerA20130703NG

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