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Bring out the dancing shoes

Recipients of funds raised from the inaugural Priests Can Cook collected their cheques last Tuesday during a ceremony hosted by the Catholic Education Board of Management at CREDI, Belmont. In attendance at the handing over: (Back row from left) Sterling Jacob, CEBM vicariate manager, North; Matthew Noel, Principal, Diego Martin Boys’ RC; Gregory Johnson, Principal, Petit Valley Boys’ RC; Hazel Galera, teacher, Petit Valley Boys’ RC; Sunil Ramadhar, Principal, La Romaine RC. (Front row from left) Merle John, vicariate manager, North; Terell Kanhai, pupil, Diego Martin Boys’ RC; CEO CEBM Sharon Mangroo; Sonia Moore, Isoka Charles, Omari Charles, pupils of Our Lady of Laventille RC and their principal Louanne Phillip-Regis; Josiah Amoroso and Samuel Frederick, pupils of La Romaine RC; Gregg Chambers, vice principal, Diego Martin Boys’ RC.

Story and photo by Lara Pickford-Gordon,

The second annual Priests Can Cook takes place September 28 at the forecourt of the Grand Stand Queen’s Park Savannah 6.30 –10.30 p.m.

A bigger venue has been sourced as patrons of the first instalment of the fundraiser at the St John’s Ambulance Hall said they wanted more space and time to dance.

“So there is more space and you’ll be able to have a wonderful time” said Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) Sharon Mangroo at the presentation of cheques to schools benefitting from last year’s event. The simple ceremony was held at the hall of the Catholic Religious Education Development Institute, Belmont.

Priests Can Cook is a collaboration between the CEBM and staff of the Chancery, “who wanted to do something for Catholic education”.  Many schools need additional resources to support the curriculum but the CEBM was guided by the principle of “providing for those schools that needed most”.

Mangroo acknowledged there were weaknesses in the education system but instead of focusing on the negatives providing solutions and assisting would go much further. She said last year’s event, “was a very big success” raising $268,827.12 out of which ten per cent was handed over to then Archbishop Joseph Harris for the Dominica hurricane relief. The balance was distributed to assist Diego Martin Boys’ RC, Petit Valley Boys’ RC, Our Lady of Laventille RC and La Romaine RC.

Mangroo said while the schools submitted lengthy proposals, these had to be “narrowed down” to fit the funds they would receive. “What we expect is once our principals get started and work is being done, once our people see the work that is being done, further assistance would be provided,” she added. The principals in attendance shared their plans for the funds received.

Petit Valley Boys’ will invest in the pupils’ participation in football, cricket, track and field, all of which are on the curriculum, and introduce table tennis and hockey. Principal Gregory Johnson added the public address system will be upgraded and music will be used to “soothe the mind” and have a calming effect on the children. A new photocopy machine will be purchased.

Diego Martin Boys’ will have an area designated as a prayer room and dedicated sick bay. Principal Matthew Noel said uniforms will be bought for sporting groups in the school because one uniform was used for everything—hockey, football, cricket, table tennis—and sometimes the uniforms are shared with community groups. The school hoped to use a small percentage to purchase security cameras. Noel said the Diego Martin West Lions and businesses in the community have said they would assist.

Sunil Ramadhar, the principal of La Romaine RC for the past four months said the school began getting its ICT platform ready and looked forward to using the funding to push this forward.

The goals are: to encourage the proper use of ICT for the curriculum delivery and assessment; restock the school’s computer lab and ensure high speed broadband connectivity throughout the school; restock the library “to appeal to the modern child in a technological world”; develop a separate room for visual and performing arts and physical education.

Louanne Phillip-Regis, principal of Our Lady of Laventille RC said in spite of a wire walls and two security guards present, the school is still plagued by thefts. A camera system will be bought to boost security and sporting equipment and uniforms for cricket, track and field, netball purchased to support the pupils’ innate talent in sports.