Brickdam Secondary students, teachers excited about new school

GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Students, teachers and even parents of students attending the Brickdam Secondary School are excited about their new school building and facilities even as they are settling in at the new Freeman Street, East La Penitence location.

Head teacher of the Brickdam Secondary School, Chandrina Welcome-Lee told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that she is grateful for the efforts of the Minister of Education and officials of the Ministry.

Brickdam Secondary School students in their new classroom

Brickdam Secondary School students in their new classroom

“I have only had three years of being at Lot 45, Brickdam in the very cramped building, and it has been three really hard years. We are grateful for what the ministry has done for us. We know they haven’t forgotten us because of all they have done so far and they plan to do in the future for us. The children are very grateful and they deserve it because they have been doing very well under those circumstances and I know that they will do far better with the comfort, the space and the (improved) facilities.”

Comparing the new school and facilities to what existed at the previous location, the head teacher said the environment is much improved and staff and students will be much more comfortable.

Chandrina Welcome-Lee, Headteacher, Brickdam Secondary School

Chandrina Welcome-Lee, Headteacher, Brickdam Secondary School

“The teachers have two staff rooms now, not just one, two … the deputy has a good office, I have an office, there that is spacious and more accommodating and comfortable with a wash room… I can go on and on about the benefits that we are going to gain from being here,” the head teacher noted.

Further, the head teacher said the facilities available to students will present opportunities for them to prepare in a wider number of subjects for the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council’s (CSEC) examinations.

“The IT laboratory at Lot 45, Brickdam was cramped, very cramped and we only had 14 computers. Presently we have 30 (computers)and we have the space to accommodate them so it means that more children can sign up to write CXC … the children can work in a better and more comfortable environment which should show in our results. Our Home Economics laboratory is larger…the science lab here is larger and that’s one of the things that moderators for CSEC will tell us every year when they come to moderate the SBA. We have that now. I know it’s going to make a great difference in the students’ performance and in their lives generally,” Welcome-Lee explained.

The new school building in Freeman Street, East La Penitence housing the Brickdam Secondary School

The new school building in Freeman Street, East La Penitence housing the Brickdam Secondary School

The head teacher added that the students now have access to a play field and can take part in a range of sporting activities.

Welcome-Lee also  acknowledged that many persons have raised concerns about the safety of the school’s new location and assured that the students are going to be well taken care of and safe.

“I know many persons are worried about the East La Penitence environment, but I believe we are all Guyanese, these are Guyanese children, this is an area in Guyana and we want what’s best for our children. The people in the community so far I have noticed, are very nice people. We went around, some teachers and I, and we met some neighbours and they were very welcoming to us and we appreciate that. We hope that our parents will have the confidence in us, in the Ministry of Education, in the Police Force, in the citizenry of this area, to feel comfortable enough to send their children to the school because there are so many things to benefit from coming here,” the head teacher noted.

Selwyn Prescott, Parent

Selwyn Prescott, Parent

Further, the head teacher said “(at Brickdam) we’ve never had a canteen in the school the children used to have to go on the streets. People used to see them on the streets at lunch going ‘til to Camp and Regent [Streets] to buy snacks and buy lunch and it was dangerous. It was risky. That was a serious concern and worry for me. Very often I would worry if they would be knocked down on the road crossing Brickdam or going down to Camp and Regent (streets) because those are very busy streets,” she pointed out.

Shivonne Holder, parent of a fifth form student is sorry her child could not enjoy the comforts offered by the new building and facilities from the time she entered secondary school more than four years ago.

Shivonne Holder, Parent

Shivonne Holder, Parent

“I just did a tour of the building and the compound and the building here is definitely a big, big improvement on what they had at Brickdam. I am sorry that my daughter is on her way out of the school she should have been coming in first form now to enjoy all of the facilities that are being offered here now,” said Holder.

Meanwhile Selwyn Prescott, the parent of two students who will be attending the school for the first time has high expectations with the opportunities which may arise from the much improved building and facilities.

“My son just came for the first time this afternoon. I just brought him here. He should be in Grade Seven B. My daughter should be starting here from tomorrow; she is transferring from Central High to here. I think the school can do well based on the results I saw. She (head teacher) showed me from the last four to five years from the CXC result, I was quite impressed again with that. I thought that was good too, so with a better environment I think the school should do a whole lot better and I hope my kids can participate in that betterment there,” Prescott said.

The decision to relocate the school follows industrial action and protests by teachers and parents in 2015 about poor working conditions and deplorable class rooms and sanitary facilities.

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