MIDDLE REGION – The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten has donated new kitchen equipment to the Sister Marie Laurence Primary School, much to the delight and gratitude of the students and staff.
“Hurricane Irma caused a large amount of damage to the school buildings, which was truly unfortunate. Even more devastating was the looting and vandalism that took place after the passing of Hurricane Irma. Words cannot express the disappointment we all felt to see how the school was destroyed by residents of St. Maarten. Why would people loot a school? Why would people destroy a learning environment of the youth?
“We are now focused and committed to rebuilding the school as quickly as possible. The rebound of this school will be a fantastic one!” said Tanja Frederiks, Project Coordinator. Federicks continued, “Besides the damage, which necessitated us having to find alternative classroom space for the students, the startup of the school after the passing of Irma has been very difficult to say the least, as we had to work while having no supplies. Every piece of equipment and many pieces of classroom furniture were stolen. Even the kitchen, which provides many free meals for students was completely ransacked”.
The Rotary Club of St. Maarten was made aware of the situation and immediately pledged to donate the necessary kitchen equipment to the school. “The Rotary Club of St. Maarten had already committed itself to help with the funding necessary to upgrade the Sister Marie Laurence Primary School.
“The Foundation Catholic Education St. Maarten is working on a very ambitious and much needed project plan right now to set up the school in such a way to be able to cater more effectively to the very diverse needs of the students at the school. The kitchen is the heart of the operation at this school, and in these troubling post-Irma times what can be better than to assist with restoring the use of their kitchen”, said John Caputo, President of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten.
Mr. Caputo continued, “Shams, on Cannegieter Street in Philipsburg, offered to assist with purchasing the equipment at a large discount. We are very appreciative of their gesture in assisting the Rotary Club of St Maarten in service to the community. Our gratitude also goes out the Caribbean Lotteries for their donation towards this cause.
The three local Rotary Clubs, as well as efforts from Rotary International, are all working on similar projects at other educational facilities on the island. This is just the start of many more great examples of Rotary in action”.
According to Mrs. Lilia Aventurin-Hodge, the Executive Director of the Board, “Currently two grades of the Sister Marie Laurence are housed at the Sister Magda Primary School and two grades are housed at the St. Joseph School. There was no more space to house the remaining six grades at other schools, so those remaining classes had to remain on the campus of the Sister Marie Laurence School. We are thankful and appreciative of the Sister Magda School and St. Joseph School for sharing their campuses with our students. As for the students and teachers who remained at the Sister Marie Laurence School campus, I thank you for your patience, your dedication and your commitment”.
Mrs. Aventurin-Hodge continued, “The Foundation would like to express its heartfelt appreciation to the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten, to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and to Mr. York for their help in organizing the quick-fixes to the school in order for the students to resume classes in October”.