SANDRA L BLOOD
Approximately 150 pupils attend the Laventille Girls’ Government Primary School, located at Bertie Marshall Boulevard, Success Village, Laventille, and principal Patricia Thorington is determined that every one of them leaves as "an elevated person in some way."
“Without humiliating any child or parent/guardian, teachers detect weaknesses, many hidden strengths, while opportunities outweigh the threats,” she said.
In keeping with the school’s motto, Eagles Fly, and their watchwords, Overcoming Obstacles, Achieving Success, Thorington has challenged the 13 teachers at Laventille Girls' to develop appropriate programmes to boost self-esteem, encourage productive use of time, all with the aim of unearthing the prodigy within and inspiring pupils to be career-driven.
That push for success has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in classes shifting to online platforms. However, the focus at the school has been on pushing past that obstacle and ensuring that the pupils thrive.
“The world has evolved into a very competitive space. There’s room for everyone to do great things. Many parents have lost their jobs, and while their children are still preteens, I believe one of the school’s responsibilities is to think beyond its walls . . . help students see their deeper better self, while not compromising traditional schoolwork," she said.
According to Thorington, while most children want to become doctors and lawyers, what is never considered is where doctors and lawyers get their clothes from and who grooms their hair.
“We help students build confidence in positive things and hone better cognitive and communication skills," she said.
Principal of Laventille Girls Government Primary School, Patricia Thorington.
One of the projects that generated a great deal of interest and excitement was a mini radio programme with the pupils as presenters.
There were other activities that kept the school population fully engaged.
“Students engage in mental every morning, and in read-aloud exercises with teachers or me after or during school. Other focal areas are reading and writing.
“During the second term of the last academic year, we honoured outstanding readers. For this final term, we embraced vocabulary skills. Students were called upon to write a letter to someone, and enter the Spelling Bee competition,” Thorington said.
Pupils in Standards One to Five were targeted but outstanding submissions came from Standard 2 pupils under the guidance of class teacher Shari Le Quay.
Some of the outstanding pieces produced included Naima writing to Jeneice apologising for missing her dance recital; Zuru expressed appreciation to her father for being there; Khamya to Kellise congratulating her on achieving an A+ grade; and Akilah Morris to Kayla inviting her to a sleep-over with an acknowledgement from Kayla.
In the Spelling Bee competition, Naima Joseph placed first with, Kayla Richards second and Khamya King third.
Le Quay, who met her pupils for the first time during the last academic year, explained that to ensure they all benefitted on or offline, she sourced the necessary tools for each of them whether their parents could have afforded it or not.
Spelling Bee winner Naima Joseph is flanked by Kayla Richards, left, who placed second, and third placed Khamya King.
In helping them capitalise on technology, boost their confidence, and strengthen literacy and mental capacity, they produced two videos—one for Universal Children’s Day and another as a tribute to SEA students.
Thorington said it was encouraging to see teachers and parents fully engaged with school activities. She said parents are more receptive and attendance at PTA meetings has improved.
“I respected their hours and types of work and shifted the time from 4 to 6 pm.”
Next up for Laventille Girls is a push to boost their social media presence by creating a page where news about the school can be shared.
Thorington and Le Quay have expressed their gratitude to all who are assisting the school in any way.