Mon | Sep 26, 2022

New Fortress Energy equips 300 St James students for September school term

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2022 | 12:08 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Back row, from left: Oral Heaven, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Montego Bay Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon; and Verona Carter, vice-president of New Fortress Energy, stand together for a group shot with several St James-based
Back row, from left: Oral Heaven, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Montego Bay Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon; and Verona Carter, vice-president of New Fortress Energy, stand together for a group shot with several St James-based students during the New Fortress Energy Foundation’s back-to-school fair on August 11.

WESTERN BUREAU:

THREE HUNDRED students from schools across St James have been equipped and financed for their return to school in time for the upcoming September semester, following a fun-filled, back-to-school fair put on by the New Fortress Energy Foundation in Montego Bay.

The annual fair, which has been held since 2018, saw students from the primary-school to university level gathering on the grounds of Montego Bay’s Pier One Restaurant to receive vouchers for schoolbooks and uniforms, valued at $10,000 each, along with school supplies, including notebooks and pencil pouches.

In addition, 35 high-school students were presented with bursaries valued at $50,000 each for tuition and external examination fees, while another 45 students were gifted with computer tablets. Free medical examinations were made available for 100 students, while various fair attractions were provided for the enjoyment of the younger children.

Caprice Hamilton, a 15-year-old student of Anchovy High School, described the event held last Thursday as a beneficial one for students who might otherwise not have been able to finance their back-to-school preparations.

“I am very happy and very ecstatic to see what is going to happen here. There are so many students who do not have the finances, so I am happy this company (New Fortress Energy) is doing this little occasion so that students can get what they need for going back to school,” Hamilton told The Gleaner.

The sentiment of gratitude was shared by 17-year-old Taejhaun Grant, a sub-prefect at Irwin High School, who praised the timing of the event for students to get ready for the upcoming school term.

“Right now, this event is good, and I am comfortable with it so far. It is timely, especially for back-to-school (preparations), to see the bags and tablets and other items here for students,” said Grant.

The back-to-school fair in St James, which New Fortress Energy had partnered with the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) to accomplish, was part of a larger initiative put on by the company to benefit some 1,500 students across three parishes where it operates its liquefied natural gas plants. Similar back-to-school fairs were previously held in Clarendon on August 9, and in St Catherine on August 10.

Verona Carter, the vice-president of New Fortress Energy, noted that the back-to-school initiative was a fulfilment of the company’s mandate for national development, including within the education sector.

“Aren’t you glad to be going back to school next month? You cannot afford to stay home, as you must be educated because you are the future of our country. Part of our mission is to invest in socio-economic development of our country,” Carter told the students.

Meanwhile, MBCCI President Oral Heaven thanked New Fortress Energy for its continued efforts in the promotion of nation-building.

“Jamaica is alive, and Jamaica is real, and there is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica. We are thankful to you, New Fortress Energy, for partnering with us, and New Fortress is contributing to poverty alleviation and crime reduction,” said Heaven.

Since its inception in Jamaica in 2016, New Fortress Energy has provided tertiary scholarships of up to US$5,000 to more than 300 students attending The University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, and the Caribbean Maritime University, plus providing financial aid and bursaries to over 4,500 primary- and high-school students.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com