Friday, July 28, 2017

LASCO/MoEYI Teacher of the Year starts scholarship fund for disadvantaged students

Glenroy Dockery receives first Kerene Nelson’s Signature of Excellence Fund award

Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth: He’s a boy of few words, but Glenroy Dockery certainly knows the significance of being a recipient of Kerene Nelson’s Signature of Excellence Fund.

Dockery, is the first beneficiary of the award that was conceptualized by LASCO/Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MoEYI) Teacher of the Year 2016-2017 Kerene Nelson, to provide financial assistance to students of Schoolfield Primary and Infant School in St Elizabeth.
He was awarded at his graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, July 5.

Dockery, who turned 13 in June has said he was overjoyed and surprised by the news, but figured he was awarded because of his good grades.  Not wanting to speak too much of his circumstances, Dockery said: “I think I got it because I worked hard, and because I’m needy”.

Kerene Nelson, LASCO/MoEYI Teacher of the Year 2016-2017 presents a trophy and certificate to Glenroy Dockery, the first recipient of the Kerene Nelson Signature of Excellence Fund during the Schoolfield Primary and Infant School Graduation Ceremony held on Wednesday, July 5.  Dockery, a grade six student, achieved an overall average of 70% or higher on his Primary School Exit Exams and School work, displayed exemplary deportment and behavior , outside of his financial need, to receive assistance of $40,000 for his first year at Black River High School.

Proud of his Dockery’s achievement, Schoolfield Principal, Natalee Roper-Allen reflected on the student’s journey.  “I must tell you that Glenroy is one of the students who don’t come to school very often because of his financial challenges, and when he does, he comes very hungry or with a lack of certain resources,” Roper Allen said.  Roper-Allen, who began serving as principal in May 2016 said she was immediately drawn to Glenroy because of his positive attitude towards school, despite his challenges.

“I must say, whenever his father has money, he sends him to school. But sometimes when he comes, his shirt isn’t ironed, his shoes aren’t clean and myself and some of the other teachers would press it,” Roper-Allen said.

Still, Dockery was able to achieve an average of over 75 in the Grade Six Achievement Test, making him the top performing male student at the school. He was placed at Black River High School, in parish capital.   “It means that every child in a similar situation will know that the show doesn’t stop with poverty,” said Roper-Allen.

The educator described the LASCO/MoEYI Teacher of the Year’s scholarship fund as a blessing.  “Believe, when I saw that he passed for Black River High, I prayed. I wondered what would happen to Glenroy. How would I ensure that he gets to school and has meals and those things,” Roper Allen said.

The following day, through the work of God, according to Roper-Allen, Nelson phoned her with her plans to start a fund to help needy students.

Nelson had been involved with Schoolfield, through a project she launched to train teachers there in Spanish education.  “Teaching is my passion but equally significant and important to me is providing service in any way possible,” said Nelson.

The St Elizabeth Technical High School teacher said she is being an instrument of God.
“Assisting any student to attend school more regularly indeed satisfies me because power is given to him or her,” she said.

Through the Kerene Nelson’s Signature of Excellence Fund, Dockery will receive a sum of $40,000 to assist with transportation and lunch. A total of $15,000 has been earmarked for the Christmas term, with $12,500 respectively for the Easter and Summer Terms.

These amounts will be disbursed by the school’s Guidance Counsellor/Bursar and the awardee is expected to sign for each amount received.   Glenroy Dockery Snr, says the scholarship will be of great help. The works on various construction sites in the area to earn money for the household.
“I hope he continues to do well in school, I even want his average to reach to the nineties at Black River High,” he said. I just really want him to come out to something.”

He continued: “It wasn’t all that easy taking care of him, I wasn’t able to always send him to school, but he’s a good child, and was able to do well in school even though we are in this situation.
Principal Roper-Allen said the scholarship has enhanced the school climate.

“It has brought excitement to both students and teachers. It will also foster motivation of staff and students to work hard, because irrespective of Glernoy’s economic status, he has been a determined child, who has worked towards gaining success irrespective of his circumstances,” she said.
Nelson wants to increase the number of recipients yearly, she plans to organise several fundraising activities to do so.

“If other people and corporate Jamaica are desirous of contributing to the fund, that’s welcoming. I want to sustain the fund so any help will be appreciated,” Nelson said.
For her part, Principal Roper-Allen said contributing to the fund means investing in the development of the students of Schoolfield and the wider community.

Literacy among students moved from an average of 31 per cent literacy to 78 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

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