Patron of Soroptimist International of Jamestown, Marie Lady Simmons (centre), cuts the ribbon to officially hand-over the gazebo to the school. Looking on is Principal Undine Shorey (right) and President of Soroptimist International of Jamestown, Cheri Niles. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The winner of the Soroptimist International of Jamestown’s Enhance and Embrace your Environment competition, St. Judes Primary School, was officially presented with its prize – a spanking new gazebo – yesterday.

Pupils beat out other schools in the 2013 competition by transforming the school’s premises into an environmental haven by planting trees, cleaning up a nearby gully and implementing recycling and hydroponic projects.

The ceremony was attended by patron of the Soroptimist International of Jamestown, Marie Lady Simmons; Principal, Undine Shorey; Past Principal, Grace Wickham, who was instrumental in guiding the school to victory; Contractor James Edgehill; Architect Roy Padmore; Soroptimist President, Cheri Niles; Senior Education Officer (Nursery and Primary Schools), Christina Morris, and past pupils.

Mrs. Morris told the gathering that the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation was grateful for any assistance from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“The Ministry welcomes the support and input of NGOs into the educational system. We know that we cannot do it on our own. We are, therefore, very happy that the construction of the gazebo has been completed and is now ready for use. I envisage that this outdoor space will be used for both recreation and instruction and that all staff and students at St. Judes Primary School will enjoy using the facility.

“I express gratitude to the Soroptimist International of Jamestown for first conceptualising and organising the competition in 2013, which has brought us to this point today. And, indeed, for providing an opportunity for students from schools across the island to participate and compete for some wonderful prizes. I am aware that two other schools would have been the beneficiaries of some wonderful gifts, and I am sure that they are utilising them to the benefit of the schools and the students,” she said.

A rear view of the gazebo which was handed over to St. Judes Primary School by the Soroptimist International of Jamestown yesterday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Senior Education Officer urged the Soroptimist International to continue its commitment to the children of Barbados, adding that she looked forward to more innovations and opportunities from which teachers and pupils could benefit.

Ms. Niles encouraged pupils to take care of the gazebo and make good use of it. She said Soroptimist International was a worldwide volunteer service organisation made up of a group of professional women who work for peace and to improve the lives of women, girls and the elderly in communities. She added that recently, the organisation had expanded its scope to work with boys as well.

Former Principal, Grace Wickham, said it took a lot of hard work to win the competition but praised the students, staff and parents for a job well done. She expressed a desire to see the environmental project return to its former glory at the school.

Principal Undine Shorey assured those in attendance that the school would continue with environmental efforts to further clean up and beautify the nearby gully and the school.

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