The Convent of Mercy Academy, Alpha, has received $1 million in cash and kind to improve its students’ access to information technology.
The donation, presented recently by the Alpha Academy Alumnae (Jamaica Chapter), included a cheque valued at $850,000. The items were tablets, laptops and computer monitors that were installed in all first form classrooms.
Principal of the all-girls Kingston-based institution, Kali McMorris, described the gesture as an amazing effort to improve the state of learning for students.
She expressed profound gratitude to the alumnae for its continued support of the school.
“The support that we get from our big sisters reminds us that we have a family here at Alpha and that we are always supported. It is the magic of Alpha, the thing that makes us different,” McMorris said.
President of the Alumnae, Dr. Tameka Stephenson-Harris, told The Beacon that members of her organization find pleasure in sharing with their younger sisters.
She explained that the decision to focus on sourcing monitors to better facilitate virtual learning was made after a meeting between the Alumnae’s executive and the school’s principal.
The alumnae set out on its mission with a monitor drive. That was expanded to include laptops and tablets after it was discovered that approximately 10 per cent of students was not able to log on to virtual classes.
“Even though we wanted to furnish six classes with computer monitors, we realized that there were persons in need who did not show it… So we decided to source some laptops and tablets so that the school could identify these students through a screening process and gift them these items,” Dr Stephenson-Harris noted.
In addition to the tablet drive, the Alumnae hosted a virtual 5k run-walk from which it raised just over $300,000. The group also got sponsorship from other chapters of the school’s alumnae, and local companies such as Cambridge Cash and Carry Supermarket, JN group, J and J Pharmacy, Great House Pharmacy, PROcom, and Total Health Services.
“I really want to thank our sisters from the tri state and Toronto and the Florida chapter because they really came on board… We are all Alpha alumni personnel, but they didn’t have to support our chapter,” said Dr Stephenson-Harris.
It is not the first time that the Alpha Academy Alumnae (Jamaica Chapter) is giving back to the school.
A few months ago, it sponsored the school’s track team, enabling it to participate in this year’s staging of the ISSA Boys and Girls Athletics Championships. Alpha, which is not well known for sports, managed to finish 26th of the 38 schools in the female category.
The group also recently hosted a career fair where more than 100 students from the educational institution got career advice from past students who are currently working in about 30 different professional fields.
Dr Stephenson-Harris explained: “We had doctors, lawyers, journalists and attorneys from Jamaica and overseas. We had statisticians and accountants; it was a wide range of professions… We tried to get only persons that were graduates, and so it was very encouraging for them… We were trying to say to the current students, ‘We did it; you can do it too; and you can do even better’.”
Dr Stephenson-Harris, in the meantime, said investing in the nation’s children is a means by which Jamaicans can secure a better future.
“Sometimes when we don’t invest in them from now, we can’t really say anything when they turn out to be nuisances to society, because we would have been a part of the reason they are that way,” she reasoned.
She also appealed for all past students of Alpha to join the school’s Alumnae.
They can sign up to become a paid-up member via the school’s website for a fee of $1000. To access the website, CLICK HERE. Registration forms can also be accessed by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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