Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Dupont scores with help from D&G

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Jordan Phillips (left), captain of the Dupont Primary and Infant School football team, and defender Dameon Bird play a friendly football game on their field. Unfortunately, they cannot play as often as they would like because of the deplorable state of the pitch.
Andrew Rowe, principal of Dupont Primary and Infant School, stands on the football field, where renovations have begun. A new perimeter fence is being constructed to prevent soil erosion. Plans also include painting of the fence and adding topsoil and turf to the field. The project was bolstered by the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation through a $100,000 donation as part of the company’s centennial celebrations last year.
Andrew Rowe (right), principal of Dupont Primary and Infant School, discusses renovation plans for the school’s football field with coach Colin Walford. The primary school’s improvement project recently got a boost from the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation through a donation of $100,000 as part of the company’s ‘100 For A Century’ campaign.

Renowned for producing some of the world’s top athletes, Jamaica’s sporting heritage is undoubtedly top notch. From track and field to swimming and cricket, the island has experienced monumental levels of success in various arenas. It is a tradition Dupont Primary and Infant School hopes to continue.

Located in Olympic Gardens, Kingston, the school champions sports to foster camaraderie and teamwork and to strengthen ­academic performance among students. However, those plans are being thwarted as a result of the destruction of a section of their football field.

“The field was destroyed by Hurricane Nicole in 2010 and has got progressively worse since. Because of that, students are unable to freely use the field, and many have suffered from health problems, especially those with asthma,” said Colin Walford, coach of Dupont’s football team.

“Many sections do not have grass, and we always have water shortage, so the field is very dusty. Sometimes we can’t even have physical-education classes, and that is a session the children look forward to,” he added.

Coming to their aid, the Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) Foundation made a $100,000 donation through its ‘100 For A Century’ campaign as part of the company’s centennial celebrations in 2018. Through a partnership withThe Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, Dupont was selected as one of 56 beneficiaries that received a share of $5.6 million.

“At the D&G Foundation, we are strong advocates for youth empowerment and community building, and one way to achieve that is through sports. Nurturing young talent in this way at the ­primary level is essential to national development, so we are happy to be a part of this initiative,” said Dianne Ashton-Smith, board ­member of the D&G Foundation.

Restoration of the field is under way with the construction of a new perimeter fence to prevent soil ­erosion. The improvement project also includes painting of the fence and the addition of topsoil and turf.

“The school is seen as a safe haven in the community. If there is friction or violence, all of that disappears when persons come on the field to play games. This gift from the D&G Foundation helps us tremendously in moving our plans along to making the space feel more welcoming and more like a sporting hub in the neighbourhood,” said Andrew Rowe, principal of Dupont.

Among the beneficiaries is Jordan Phillips, captain and midfield player of the football team. As a lover of the sport, he is looking forward to the improvements to the field.

“Since I began playing football, I have become more confident because I am usually very shy,” said Jordan. “When I go on the field, I get excited and I feel brave. I also love that I get to play with my friends. When the field is fully completed, we plan to play on it all the time.”

Since its establishment more than 50 years ago, Dupont has always encouraged children to get involved in sports. Today, the school boasts a robust sports programme offering football, rugby, baseball, basketball and track and field.

Serving more than 1,200 ­students, Dupont continues to groom the minds and nurture the talents of young people in the community. With plans to extend its reach by including residents in sporting activities, Dupont will earnestly foster ­community ­upliftment and youth development.