MY STORY BY MYESHA BROADIE
Although many of us who have acquired success can credit it to our hard work and determination, the truth is there were and still remain many players who contributed to our success. I can safely admit that the assistance of others such as my parents, family members and teachers, contributed significantly to who I am today; 24-year-old Myesha Broadie, a Journalist, employed to the number one radio station in Jamaica, Irie Fm. My success did not come over night, it is the end result of years of hard work put together along with support from various angles. A major support that I received was from the staff of the Calabar Basic School in Trelawny some 21 years ago. My journey at the early childhood institution began when my parents became overwhelmed by trying to make ends meet and so did not have the time to drop me off nor pick me up from school. Some of my siblings were also attending schools in another part of the parish and there was just not anyone available to ensure that I was taken to school. As a result, my parents made the decision to have me stay with one of my older sister’s in the community of Calabar, some 8 minutes away from my hometown, Braco.
My sister was a stay-at-home mom and so she had more time on her hands. To make things even better, her 3-year-old daughter (my niece), would be attending the newly opened Calabar Basic School just walking distance away. This was great! We could walk to and from school, which would save my family money. I too was enrolled at the institution and routinely, each day, early in the mornings, my niece and I woke up, got dressed in our neat brown and white uniforms, picked up our lunch bags and we were off to school. I looked forward to school each day, I was a bright student and I loved learning, also the teachers, especially Mrs. Merline Campbell-McLeish (we called her Aunty Sandy) were friendly and kind. Aunty Sandy’s son, Nathanael Patterson also attended the school and he posed a competition, as he was also brilliant, today he is a Safety Assistant Officer at the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (the state own bus company).
After graduating the Calabar Basic School in 2002, he moved on to primary school where he later received an academic scholarship to attend the Cornwall College, a prestigious secondary school in St. James. Patterson later earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health from the University of the West Indies. Despite starting a new life in Kingston, Patterson continues to dedicate his energy, skills to the Calabar Basic School and has pledged his undying devotion to his first alma mater. I too, through my writing skills and other talents will contribute to further growth of the institution.
HISTORY/HERSTORY- CALABAR’S STORY
Late last year, I met the Founder of this life changing institution, Wayne Dawkins. I found out the reasons the school was built and its importance to Calabar and surrounding communities.
The institution established in 1997 is the brain-child of Dawkins and his cousin Merline McLeish. The two say that the Calabar Basic School was born out of the need for a day care facility in the community which McLeish shared with her cousin who was then, a recent university graduate living in Canada who had returned to his birthland Jamaica for a visit. On that visit McLeish expressed to Dawkins an idea to start a daycare which would provide young single mothers in the communities of Calabar, Rio Bueno and surrounding areas, a place to safely leave their children while they went to work or returned to school. The idea came to life, and in 1998, the Calabar Daycare became the Calabar Basic School. However, the unfortunate passing of the lead teacher at the local basic school led to its premature closing. Many parents were forced to send their children by taxi to the closest basic schools in neighboring towns. The additional cost of travel also forced single mothers who could not afford the increased expenses to leave their jobs and stay home. To combat the problem the Calabar Daycare Founders were asked if they would be willing to convert their daycare into a basic school. The two founders prayed and then took on the challenge. Despite many set-backs, the school went on for years, producing great students.
Since its inception, Calabar Basic School has changed the lives of many through early childhood and recently adults through its adult school classes for those who want to better themselves or receive education which they were not previously given the opportunity to.
Currently, the institution is still up and running, and teachers are busy molding young minds. Dawkins who continues to support the institution in whatever way possible, says maintaining the basic school for the past 22 years has not been without many challenges, namely, funding, and nutrition. However, the institution is of much significance to the community and as such, through prayer and other efforts, the Calabar Basic School stands tall.
As a former student of the institution, I am grateful of the efforts of the cousin-duo. Thanks to them, I had a good educational start and my parents were able to save money and did not have to quit their jobs to take me to and from school daily. Today they are very proud and have been able to realize some of their dreams come to pass. They have witnessed their youngest child be the first in the family to attend university and earn a Bachelor's Degree from the top university in the region, The University of the West Indies. Better yet, they have been able to turn on the radio and hear their daughter delivering the news to the country and by extension the world. Although, I did not receive all my education from the Calabar Basic School, that institution through its teachers helped to set the foundation for me and others. Undoubtedly, the lessons taught to me by the exceptional teachers made me desire academic success and as such I stayed true to that goal even until now as learning is continuous. Without a doubt I know that many other young minds which were molded have similar stories to share and have gone on to better themselves as well as influence the lives of others.
I urge people who can assist to donate in whatever way possible as the Calabar Basic School is known for changing lives. Let’s help to ensure that the lives of the future are molded correctly. Those wishing to help may donate using this link: http://www.calabarbasicschool.com/donate
For those unable to donate, I urge you to play your part by sharing the link on social media and elsewhere so that others may be able to donate.
Let’s keep Calabar Basic School up and running so young minds of the community and its environs may be molded for a better tomorrow.