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The community teacher| Aleque Ellis

A number of students who live at Shenton district in Bog Walk, St Catherine, usually get help with their academic work free of cost, thanks to 24-year-old Aleque Ellis.

“Persons in the community have respected me throughout the years for the work I have been doing informally with teaching and helping students with homework,” he told The Beacon.

Ellis noted that, while many parents are supportive of their children, they are unable to personally provide them with extra academic guidance. That’s a big gap, and the youngster is poised to fill it.

He is now dedicating more time to hosting extra classes on Saturdays and Sundays. “I saw where I can help properly and, seeing that there is a need, I am trying to fill it,” said the holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Entertainment and Cultural Enterprise Management.

The extra effort now comes at a cost of $500 daily, but Ellis stated that the fee is mainly to offset expenses incurred.

He told The Beacon that he recently helped to prepare 12 students for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), and he is confident that they have done well.

“I saw the students grow over the couple months. Based on the feedback I have gotten after the sitting of each PEP exam, if those students don’t attain the highest standard, I know they won’t fall short of it,” he posited.

Ellis, who hosts the classes on a porch that Yvette White Vassell makes available free of cost, is now trying to acquire furniture such as desks and chairs. Donations are welcomed, he said.

Ellis further stated that he has a penchant for helping students because, when that is done, the entire community benefits.

“Education is a vital tool. I think it’s the one thing which, once you have it, you cannot lose it,” he reasoned. “As a community, once you help the children early in life, they will ultimately make the community better.”

Ellis said he feels encouraged whenever there is improvement in the students he has helped. “This is something I want to do for the rest of my life – helping to teach,” he continued.

“The students are receptive because I bring learning out of the traditional classroom setting; I help with visuals and audios that are engaging,” added the past student of Linstead Primary School, Charlemont High School, Wolmer’s Boys School, and the University of the West Indies. He currently works full-time as a digital communication and marketing specialist.

In the meantime, Vassell, who makes a porch available free of cost for the classes to be held, said she too is a firm believer in education and youth empowerment.

“That is my passion – anything to do with education of the youth, because it eventually makes the community a better community,” she told The Beacon. “From time to time, I also give children lunch money and help to pay their CXC fees. Giving a car porch for classes, and allowing use of the bathroom facilities is just a plus for everyone.”

Vassell, who is a police officer, said the service Ellis is now providing is much less expensive for parents who would usually send their children out of the community for extra classes.

“These kids now can just walk from their house to the porch,” Vassell further told The Beacon. “It is less expense for the parents; this is the first time I am seeing anything like this in Shenton district.”

By Horace Mills, Journalist

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