Armed with hoes, rakes, forks, shovels and paint brushes, the senior leadership team from CIBC FirstCaribbean went to the St Elizabeth Primary School in St Joseph with a mission to refurbish key areas of the school to create a better space for students’ learning.
And in about one and a half hours, an hour earlier than the time given to the 108 senior executives in various teams to do the job, it was mission accomplished!
The project was divided into areas where team members could best utilize their skills. One team tackled a tyre garden for the Nursery to Infants B classes, and were given 129 seedlings of basil, lettuce, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, cabbage and sweet peppers to plant in 43 tyres the school already had but was not utilizing.
The second group undertook the job of the vegetable garden for the junior school. They had to level the soil mix in six 20-foot beds to ready them for the planting of cucumbers, okras, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and marigolds – a natural pest control.
Both these areas are to be used by the school in their Agricultural Science programme. The area was also fenced after the group left, in order to prevent animals which encroach onto the school compound from getting to the young plants.
A third group headed for the play park. The bank had already purchased some equipment and had it installed by the National Conservation Commission, including another swing set for the children, a see-saw and monkey bars. Some members of the team painted the equipment in the bright primary colours while others created a sand pit in an area that was excavated prior to their arrival.
There was also another group that did some painting along a well-used corridor at the school, creating a bright area for the 88 children enrolled in the school and the ten teachers on staff.
The largest and most ambitious group, however, undertook the task of developing a reading park. Situated on a slope at the front of the school, it was part of the vision of principal Maria Benn and senior teacher Richard Brome who wanted an area where the children could go during the day, under the guidance and supervision of their teachers, to read. The team fulfilled that dream by creating a path of 65 paving stones which will eventually be painted, by students, with phonic symbols.
The group also painted some picnic benches for the children to sit and read under large umbrellas donated to the school. Two of the benches were given to the school on this occasion, while three others which were weather-worn were given a fresh coat of paint. Under the watchful eyes of a team from Nature Care Ltd, they planted ten shade trees and installed shrubs to camouflage an unsightly water tank, and planted feather grass on the slope to prevent soil slippage. The team also painted a large outcropping of rocks where a rock garden will be created with cactus and other succulents.
Other work contributed by the bank to the school was the concrete base for the installation of an existing water tank to collect water from the roof of the school for watering the gardens. Guttering along the side of the roof leading to the tank was also installed.
The preparation of the areas for the gardens was done by Russell Corrie and his team from Nature Care Ltd who also contributed some of their services to the project.
Principal Benn was overwhelmed at the transformation of the school and the speed with which it was done. She said her staff and students were truly grateful to the bank for the wonderful work they did. (PR)