As a first grader at the Dupont Primary School located on the grounds of our sister parish in Jamaica, Shakeefa M. was recently selected as the Most Improved Student at the Dupont School for the academic 2010-2011 year.   Shakeefa lives in the inner city of Kingston where her school day begins by walking through slums that are marked by violence, drugs, trash and filth.  Her determination to attend school is exceeded only by her enthusiasm for her studies.

If you ask her, Shakeefa will tell you she likes school, she likes to read, and she likes adjectives!  Her teacher will tell you how wonderful it is to teach a first grader how to read and how especially wonderful it is that each of her students has his or her own book to learn from.  That was not always true at the Dupont School. Shakeefa knows she is lucky to be in school, but what she doesn’t know is that the uniform she wears so proudly and the book in her hand and the hands of her classmates were made possible by the JOP’s Education Committee and your donated dollars.  Something else Shakeefa probably doesn’t know, but we do, is that the computer lab and the bright and cheerful library stocked with books, chairs,  and colorful posters didn’t just appear out of nowhere; they were supplied by the hard work and diligence of JOP volunteers coupled with the generosity of you and others. We thank you for all of that.

To fill you in on the effect the JOP has had on the Dupont School, a little history needs to be shared.  When the JOP first became involved with the school, supplies were totally inadequate, the staff was discouraged, and student achievement extremely low.  Since our involvement, the school’s scores on a national achievement test have risen from the zero percentile level to the 74th percentile!  Success has many faces.  Shakeefa’s face says it all.
The library and classrooms at Dupont are always in need of books at all grade levels.  We supply text books whenever we can, but that isn’t the only type of book that makes up a school.  If your bookshelves at home are storing books that your children no longer read, could you possibly donate them to us?  Shakeefa and her teacher might be just the reason why you might be inspired to do so. Donations may be left at the main office at St John the Evangelist in Naples.

John Oustrich, JOP Education Chairman