PHILIPSBURG:--- On September 10th, 2020, members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset joined club President, Elisia Lake, and gathered at the Government Administration Building for the presentation of 67 tablet computers to various public schools on the island. Rotary Sunset launched its tablet/computer donation drive in August with hopes to provide the much-needed computer devices to students who were unable to attend online classes.
Supporting basic education and literacy is one of Rotary’s primary areas of focus and Rotary Sunset strongly believes in the right to sound education for every child. The club has organized numerous projects to promote education and literacy with its annual “Reading Slumber Fun”, “Read A Book A Day” “Free Little Libraries” and “Teachers’ Appreciation” initiatives, among others. Given the challenges faced by many students on the island with logging in to their online classes, the club saw the opportunity to take action in addressing the needs of these students.
“Providing a tablet for a student in need is like igniting a flame of endless opportunities. Although COVID-19 has presented our educational system with numerous challenges, it has also accelerated our educational system to embrace all the benefits of technology through virtual learning. As an educator and avid supporter of education, I am truly honored to be a part of an organization that takes action to create lasting change in our community, who made it possible for over 60 students to attend online classes,” President Elisia Lake stated.
Various Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends such as Temard Butterfield, Montgomery Penn, Akeem Lennard, Karl Isaac, Lakeia Lewis, Jerrell George, Julie Ramchandani, Lorenzo Scotland, the Rotary Club of Randolph Sunrise in Vermont, Corinne Laville, Kenneth Vandermark, David Palmer, Alvin Parker and Arlene Standford from Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Virgin Gorda, Jamaica, USA, and St. Thomas shipped their donated tablet to the island as a contribution towards this initiative. Local contributors such as TamLeo, Digital Gumbs, West Tech Shipping, Rissa Productions, Consider It Solved by Roosburg & Partners, PSB Bank N.V., Kalaboom Events, Mr. Fries & Tingz SXM, SXM Promotionz, Auto Depot, Manek Imports, Tony’s Airconditioning, Tyrone Yates, Shiela Vie, Joanne Marie Lake Corrick, Shaunette Wilson, Jocelyn Levenstone, Deborah Richards, Tracey Thewet, Marie Boasman, Gracias Maccow, Tarnive Pemberton, Erica Woodley, Tameka Lambert, Ayanna Guy, Goslinga Aukje Johanna, Aswayan Cocks, Rotarians Elisia Lake, Roylyka Roache, Louis Wever, and Aernout Kraaijeveld also made significant contributions toward the much-needed tablets.
The tablets were distributed to the students through the school managers of the Marie Genevieve de Weever, Leonald Connor, Oranje, Prins Willem Alexander, Ruby Labega, and Martin Luther King Jr. Primary Schools. The students were selected base on a thorough data analysis conducted by the various Student Care Coordinators. The Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, gave words of encouragement and gratitude, towards the club for carrying out this initiative and vowed that the ministry would do its part to ensure that no child is left behind. During the brief ceremony, schools had the opportunity to win additional tablets, a MAC Book Pro, and school supplies. President Elisia encouraged the schools to adopt a loan system, where the tablets can be loaned to each student in need with the understanding that it will be returned to the school at the end of the pandemic in good condition. This would ensure future use for other students that may be in need.
The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the general population of St. Maarten and Rotarians across the globe for their kind contributions towards this initiative. There are still 133 students from various public schools who lack an electronic device to be able to attend classes. Persons who are still interested in contributing can do so by making a deposit to the club’s WIB USD Account number- 82173909, WIB NAF Account number-82173806.