The Bagatelle Basic School in Mocho, Clarendon has been transformed into a model school eight decades after it was established by community stalwart, Granville Anderson. The addition of a classroom block, staff room, kitchen and sick bay and the renovation of the existing structure were accomplished by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund, (CHASE), at a cost of $15.2 million. The handing over ceremony of the new School, took place on Thursday April 26.
Bagatelle Basic School has served the Mocho community since 1932. HersleyAnderson, a member of the School Board and son of the Founder, recalled when the school was housed in a small church accessed by a footpath and the school fee was one shilling per month. Destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 1951, a substandard building supplemented until a grant from the USAID built a new school 20 years after Hurricane Charley had destroyed the church school. It was built to accommodate 25 students.
Through successive hurricanes and threats of closure due to financial hardship, Bagatelle Basic survived. A letter to the CHASE Fund from the Principal, EnrolykaAnderson elicited a favourable response and the dream, long held by Granville Anderson, was realized.
Member of Parliament for North Central, Clarendon, Pearnel Charles, reads to students of the Bagatelle Basic School. Listening in is W. Billy Heave, CEO of the CHASE Fund.
Mr. W. Billy Heaven, Chief Executive Officer of CHASE, in his address to the appreciative audience made up of parents, teachers and other members of the Bagatelle community, noted that very high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six. Students, he said, “are at a crucial stage of life in terms of their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and creative development and must be provided with positive learning experiences.”
Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon, the Hon. Pearnel Charles, emphasized the need for parents to take an active interest in their children’s education and pointed to the Programme of Advancement Through Health (PATH) as an avenue of assistance for those who are experiencing financial difficulty.
He commended the Anderson family for their dedication to education and lauded the CHASE Fund for its assistance.
CHASE has been working closely with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) to assist basic schools in satisfying the requirements of the Commission with respect to the physical environment. These include adequate space to prevent overcrowding, trained teachers and facilities conducive to learning.