The staff and students at the George Town Primary School in the Cayman Islands, have received a much-needed lift after a challenging yet rewarding few years.
The 49 year-old institution became the first Cayman Islands recipient of the Sagicor Adopt-A-School programme, with long-serving school principal Marie Martin accepting the donation to a maximum value of US$15,000. She expressed her gratitude at the gesture. “Sagicor’s action is a true demonstration of corporate and community partnership and it shows great social responsibility on their part,” she said. “It demonstrates their consciousness in realising the importance of contributing much-needed resources to provide an effective solution for bridging the gap between home, school and the wider community.”
Martin says the school has a proud history of excellence, with George Town Primary consistently rated among the top performers among its peers. This is especially seen in literary and Spelling Bee competitions, with the current Cayman Islands National Spelling Bee champion, Aaron Fernandez, a George Town Primary student.
For Martin, who has been principal at George Town Primary since 1983, the assistance comes at a critical juncture. She said since Hurricane Ivan struck the Cayman Islands in 2004, the school has faced some challenges. “The physical plant had been devastated by the hurricane and we are still operating largely from temporary mobile units whilst construction of the new building is in progress,” she said. As the school and country picked up the pieces from Ivan, they were again hit by an economic disaster of international proportions in 2008. “Our school has been particularly hard hit by the recession. The challenges have been great to try to maintain the normalcy required for students to function and produce results,” she said.
Most of the Sagicor donation, Martin pointed out, will be used to address some immediate needs at George Town Primary. These include enhancing its Breakfast Feeding Programme and establishing technology-driven programmes for academically-challenged students.
Founded in 1962, George Town Primary has a current enrolment of 300 students from grades one to six. It is located in an inner-city area of the Cayman Islands capital, with most of the students from financially-challenged homes. “Therefore, we are always in need of private funding to augment government’s funding to enhance the learning experience,” Martin explained.Michael Fraser, President & CEO Sagicor Life of the Cayman Islands, believes the initiative is timely and demonstrates the company’s commitment to the country. “The children are our future, and it is on that premise that we pledge selfless and devoted involvement in their lives. We are very excited about spending time with this school for the next year and look forward to doing wonderful things,” he said.