Archbishop Joseph Harris presided at a thanksgiving Mass for the success of the September 29 ‘Priests Can Cook’, 5 p.m. last Friday (November 3) at the Chapel, Archbishop’s House.
Cheques from the fundraiser were also to be presented to Sharon Mangroo, Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) to assist Catholic primary schools. Archbishop Harris received a percentage of the proceeds directed to the Dominica Relief Fund.
Responding via email to questions from the Catholic News October 30, Mangroo said ‘Priests Can Cook’ was a “tremendous success” and raised $256,000. A review of the event was undertaken. “Given that it was the first occasion on which it was held, most aspects went well and those areas in which there is room for improvement have already been addressed,” Mangroo said. The CEBM has a sensitisation programme planned to alert people on the condition of Catholic schools.
Proposals for improvements have been sent by Diego Martin Boys’ RC, and Our Lady of Laventille RC, while La Romaine RC and Petit Valley RC are developing their plans.
Mangroo referred to a study conducted by McKinsey and Co on student achievement in Latin America showing that “mindset” impacted on their performance. One finding was that students with a strong “growth mindset” (believe they can succeed if they work hard) outperformed those with a “fixed mindset” (believe that their capabilities are static) by 12 per cent. Mangroo said, “So our programmes will target improving student mindsets among other things.”
The plan for Diego Martin Boys’ RC covers Religious Education, Sports, First Aid and a library upgrade. It is hoped these initiatives will respond to pupils’ needs as recently many have lost fathers due to high levels of crime in and outside the community.
While there is a scheduled Religious Education (RE) syllabus a number of classes do not have RE on a regular or scheduled basis. The school aims to do more to recognise liturgical seasons and improve the “devotional aspect” of religion “to create a Roman Catholic school environment that encompasses the Catholic ethos”, devotion and love which is evident within pupils.
Sports will be emphasised as one of the main keys to pupils’ excelling “holistically in the school environment”. The plan is to make the sporting department entirely functional by acquiring all necessary equipment for the various sporting activities to cater for all 450 pupils’ individual abilities.
“Creation of ‘borderlines’” from gang activity has made safety a crucial priority for Our Lady of Laventille to achieve improvement. A large percentage of parents cannot visit at the teachers’ request because of the risk. Parental involvement is, consequently, limited. Responding to physiological needs and aesthetics at the school “are also of paramount importance towards the maximisation of teaching and learning efforts and improvement of results”.
The school will be strengthening Religious Education, to create the ideal Catholic environment through visible Catholic symbols, meaningful instruction and practice by 2018. Also to be addressed: installing CCTV cameras, refurbishing the public address system, putting in an electronic bell, getting equipment and trained instructors for sports and culture, renovating the library; creating a pleasing environment through painting and landscaping. – LPG