Five graduates of the Belair Government School are the recipients of assistance packages from Bridgelyme, a group of friends formed almost 15 years ago.
The friends host two events annually; Anti-Stoush, during the Carnival season and Seduction, usually on Independence Day.
“We wanted to contribute to the education of some underprivileged students and consulted with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of the Belair Government School to offer five bursaries that would assist these students for the academic year 2022-2023,” Garrett Dopwell, a member of the group told SEARCHLIGHT on July 27, during the handover ceremony.
The five students who will enter various secondary schools in September are Aria Nanton, the St Joseph’s Convent (Marriaqua); Delson Spencer, the Emmanuel High School (Mesopotamia); D’kai Henville, the West St. George Secondary; Kellicia Edwards, the St. Joseph’s Convent (Mesopotamia); and Jameliah Jackson, the West St George Secondary School.
Dopwell told those present that the group will issue assistance annually “once that child is performing and making the necessary top grades, then that child would continue to receive assistance. Performance is key. You cannot be not performing and expect to be rewarded.
You have to put in the work to gain the reward.”
He said by including such a stipulation, they are ensuring that the parents play their part; the children do their homework, attend school, and that grades are at an acceptable level, as per the school standards.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Chantel Jackson of Belair expressed gratitude to all the persons who made the assistance packages possible. She noted that not all the children can perform at the same level, but she welcomed the stipulations as stated by Dopwell.
Very emotional, she said that she does not know the members of Bridgelyme, nor do they know any of the children, and for them to agree to assist is beyond words.
One person who has been working tirelessly for many years to assist the students of the Belair Government School is president the PTA Joseph Bascombe.
He requested of the principal of the Belair Government School, the names of students who fall within the socio economic category that the PTA is looking at.
“We saw it fit as a PTA to see what we can do in terms of getting assistance for these children. Just because you are leaving our school, it does not mean that we should just turn our backs. I mean, they are still our children; we still consider them to be our children and whatever assistance they need, we intend to help them as much as possible,” Bascombe told SEARCHLIGHT
“The criteria was that these children are socially disadvantaged, and because of that, it is very hard for parents to be able to sustain them financially to attend secondary school. Attending secondary school is more challenging in terms of getting finances to buy books, uniforms and so on. It is more expensive than primary school.
“What we did not want to see is that these children are not attending secondary school, because their parents simply cannot afford to send them to secondary school. That is what we wanted to avoid. We certainly as the PTA, I as president, would not have been pleased to know that one of the graduates of the Belair Government School was not able to attend secondary school, simply because the parents could not afford to send them. Every child is owed a chance, and we want to give them that chance.”