It took nine years, but students and teachers at the Nativity Vendome R.C. finally have a brand-new school with a roof that does not leak, well ventilated walls and clean restrooms.
The new building was officially handed-over on Thursday, October 10, in a ceremony held at the school compound almost a decade after it was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan.
Mr. Russ Fielden, Owner of the True Blue Bay Resort and main contributor in the sponsorship of repairs, commended the teachers of the Vendome R.C. School for their hard work and dedication despite the dire circumstances over the years.
“The teachers of Vendome School are remarkable, absolutely remarkable. They have persevered for nine years in that tin hut and, quite frankly, without the teachers there would have been no school. Not only have they managed to teach in the most chronic of circumstances, they’ve actually managed to produce some excellent students. Vendome still manages to come in the top ten of schools in Grenada every year,” Mr. Fielden said.
Ms. Prudence Greenidge, Corporate Communications Manager for GRENLEC, also one of the main sponsors of the reconstruction effort, spoke on the significance of the learning environment for the general morale of the school.
“Sometimes we think the only important things are the teachers and the children but we need to have the environment as well. If we don’t have all of those things coming together what we end up with are teachers who are probably a little unmotivated; parents who say, as in this case, ‘I don’t think I want my child going to that environment’; and children who feel that maybe they’re not as special. Children you certainly are special and I hope that this message has been brought out loud and clear,” Ms. Greenidge said.
Honourable Tobias Clement, Parliamentary Representative for St. George’s North-East, encouraged the teachers, students and parents in attendance to take ownership, and be proud, of their new facility.
“Throughout the community of Vendome we do have some proud sons and daughters who came from this institution and they always talk about it. I know that your sons and your daughters and your grandchildren will continue to come to this institution. So, take care of it and take ownership of it, it is only by your continued effort that the Vendome RC would continue to breathe good citizens for our country,” Hon. Clement said.
In closing remarks, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Honourable Anthony Boatswain, stressed the importance of investing in education for economic growth and transformation.
“I do not know of any country in the world that has made the transition from underdeveloped to developed without significant input being placed in the educational system. When you look at the human development index from various countries you would realize that the human factor, education, contributes significantly to the overall improvement in the quality of life,”Minister Boatswain said.
“We have a responsibility, social as well as economic, to develop our educational system as a means of improving our human capital which in turn will be the basis of economic growth and transformation and overall growth of our society.”
The school’s reconstruction was the joint effort of many contributors such as the True Blue Bay Resort, the Grenada Electricity Services, Caribbean Development Bank, the Government of Grenada, Southern Electrical, Ramdhanny & Co and other private sponsors.
The new, two-story building has a large multipurpose room with a stage in the upstairs and a kitchen, administrative office and other classrooms in the downstairs.