January 4, 2011
Ministry provides CW Prescod Primary School with grief counsellors

Following the death of 11-year-old Joeford Garraway, a student at the C.W. Prescod Primary School, the Ministry of Education has stationed grief counsellors at the school to help students and teachers come to terms with the sudden loss.{{more}}

Joeford Garraway, whose body has not yet been recovered, went missing at sea, at Brighton Beach, on Boxing Day (December 26), and is believed to have drowned.

Yesterday, at the first school assembly following the Christmas vacation, Headteacher Hyacinth Harry consoled the students on the loss of their schoolmate.

“God knows best. … He will get us through this,” she reassured.

Harry told SEARCHLIGHT she was upset when she received news of Joeford’s premature demise.

“It was a shock! Joeford was one of my favourite students… always in my office,” said Harry.

She added: “As soon as I entered the classroom this morning, I saw the desk marked with his name and… I broke down again.”

Harry praised the Ministry of Education for providing support.

“We have the support… to ease some of the pain,” she said.

The counselling team comprises Peter Pompey, Deborah Liverpool, Heather Stewart, Venisha Coombs and Jeanine Williams.

Harry pointed out that Joeford, who loved playing cricket and football, was quite popular among his peers, so he would be sorely missed.

“For them [students] to lose someone, it is going to affect them psychologically,” she said.

As the headtecher gestured towards a container of tennis balls in her office that had been confiscated from Joeford over the last school term, she shook her head in disbelief that one of her students was no longer with them.

“He was always in a ball issue at school. He was very active… just liked to be involved,” Harry reminisced.

Harry said that, along with the school’s resident guidance officer Megan Andrews, she had visited the deceased boy’s mother and offered to assist with funeral costs, once the body is found.

As it has been a week since the tragedy occurred, Harry shared that she is “thinking about a memorial service… to put some closure… to remember him.”

She recalled that when she had dismissed the students at the end of term, she had warned them to be careful in their holiday activities – especially when going to the beach.

“I know around that age children think they are invincible,” she lamented.

Harry said the authorities should think about stationing more lifeguards at beaches, particularly during the school holidays.