Tivoli Gardens high school boosted by Digicel Foundation upgrade gift
Denis O'Brien, Digicel founder and chairman (second right) and track legend Usain Bolt pose with Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School students on Monday. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)
Denis O'Brien toured Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School Monday morning to get a first-hand view of various new and upgraded facilities that Digicel Foundation turned over to the school.
The charitable arm of the communications leader has provided help for the school to the tune of hundreds of thousands of United States dollars, which includes the upgrading of the science lab and canteen, the building of a dining area and a gazebo, as well as improving the perimeter fencing at the institution.
The foundation has also helped the school to be self-sufficient, as a 120-feet deep well was dug that will be able to pump 53 gallons of water per minute, to water the school's playing field and lawns as well as to assist the students with learning through agriculture.
Also, the foundation has provided solar panels which will help the school to significantly reduce the amount of electricity consumed.
O'Brien, the founder and chairman of Digicel, encouraged the students not to be disheartened by any setbacks at school. He used himself as an example, telling them that he failed mathematics for three consecutive years while in high school and joked that all they wanted to learn to do as an entrepreneur, was to be able to count from one to 10.
O'Brien said, "I didn't fly through school acing every subject, so don't let your shortcoming at any particular subject be a blocker. The friendships that you forge now will set you on a path for the future, so grasp every opportunity that you have to learn."
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid, said that that the ministry will be giving targeted support for Tivoli to "make sure that what is given is maintained and continue to be conducive to learning".
Desmond McKenzie, Member of Parliament for the West Kingston constituency, where Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive is situated, said that the area owes O'Brien and the Digicel family a debt of gratitude.
He said, since Digicel has become involved with Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive, the quality of learning and discipline have improved, with Tivoli now being an exemplary high school in the Corporate Area.
Chairman of the school board, Dr Keith Amiel, said with the new well that Digicel Foundation has provided, the hope is that the students will be better able to learn in Agricultural Sciences with a "greater appreciation of how and why things grow".
Dr Amiel told the gathering that the school is excelling in dance, music and sport and is looking to do even better on the international level, with the help that the foundation has provided.
A student, Vasciani Kerr, presented a painting to O'Brien. A teacher at the institution, Louis Ruddock did the artwork.
Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High Dance Troupe did a piece in the short programme, while Digicel provided giveaways for the children.
World 100-metre record holder, Usain Bolt, a Digicel ambassador, also provided words of encouragement for the children. See more photos in the slider.