Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Jamaica Angie Martinez officially handed over a new computer lab to the Clan Carthy Primary School on Tuesday, November 28.
The computer lab was gifted to the school as a part of the Dominican Republic’s School Adoption Programme, conceptualised by Martinez.
The ceremony was attended by Fayval Williams, minister of education and youth; Juliet Holness, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Julian Robinson, member of parliament for St Andrew South East, as well as members of staff, past and current students, representatives from the Embassy of the Dominican Republic and the Ministry of Education.
The principal Winsome Reid welcomed all present and gave special thanks to the ambassador for her commitment to education and to her dedication to the project.
Reid stressed the importance of incorporating technology into education and how vital access to technology is to enhancing educational outcomes.
The principal stressed Clan Carthy’s mission to not only ensure that students are digitally literate, but also that they are given the foundations that will ensure that they compete in the future at the highest levels.
Member of Parliament Julian Robinson praised the school for not only being dedicated to the education of their students, but also the transformation of their students into well-rounded and good citizens. He lauded the leadership of the school for their outstanding work.
He also gave his special thanks to the ambassador and expressed confidence that the institution will be more than capable of making an incredible return on the investment made in them by the embassy.
In response, Martinez expressed pleasure in being able to provide a tool for education to the students of Clan Carthy. She gave her commitment to always foster initiatives that are geared towards education.
She impressed upon the students the importance of living their dreams and the importance of using the tools now available to them to seek knowledge and become the “architects of their destiny”.
Speaking to Our Today after the ceremony, Martinez explained that the gifting of the computer room to Clan Carthy was the second project under the School Adoption Program being undertaken by the Embassy of the Dominican Republic.
The embassy previously adopted the Franklin Town Primary School and undertook the painting of murals on the school grounds as well as other beautification works.
The programme functions as a cultural exchange between the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, in the hope of fostering stronger ties between the two countries.
“It is my belief we are more similar than we are different,” she said when speaking of the objectives of the initiative.
Martinez further explained that projects are chosen based on the selected schools’ greatest need. Upon completion, she said the cultural exchange aspect would then ensue for a year. This involves introducing students to aspects of Dominican culture, specifically learning Spanish and being taught the fundamentals of baseball, the national sport in the Dominican Republic, and learning meringue and bachata, which are popular dance styles.
Martinez believes that learning these things at an early age will foster a curiosity and respect for the culture that will continue beyond the programme in hopes that those foundations will lead to stronger bonds between citizens in both countries.
The ambassador confirmed that the embassy is in the middle of selecting the beneficiary of the programme for next year, including meetings with the school to work out the scope of the project to be undertaken throughout the year.
In addition to equipping the computer lab, three new computers are being added to the staff room to allow staff to also benefit from the use of technology while on the campus.
Mrs. Kenesha Treleven, who is served as moderator for the day’s activities, is also the teacher of Grade One at the school.
In speaking with Our Today, she pointed out the positives to be gained from having a dedicated room where students will be able to learn how to navigate and use computers in a conducive space.
She also pointed out the benefit of having computers available to the staff as well, as previously, teachers would have to take their personal computers to work. She mentioned that teachers are encouraged to use technology as a part of their lesson planning and teaching practises. With computers now made available to staff, this can happen more seamlessly.
She mentioned that the students have been excited for weeks about the new computer lab.