It was a big day today at St Jude RC Primary School in the village of Camalote as students, teachers and parents gathered on the school campus to inaugurate their brand new Campus fence. The lack of proper security at the school has led to multiple break ins and acts of vandalism over the years and the staff and administration has been at wits end to try to raise money for a fencing project. Principal Shevon Ramirez Mendez approached the Cayo South Area representative Julius Espat, and though his party is not in office, he committed himself to building a fence for St Jude RC. The students celebrated the occasion with skits and dances in a program put together just for the inauguration. Principal Ramirez was one of the persons who spoke to those gathered at the inauguration .
Principal Shevon Ramirez Mendez
It was always a dream to our parents and teachers present here today; some who have left us and some that transferred to another school, to see that this fence is being placed at our school in other to protect our students and keep them out of harm’s way. As the school leader I was constantly being asked by parents when we are going to work on getting our fence built, especially with the recent scare a few months ago about the white van kidnapping school children. Hearing this plea from parents I wrote to our area representative and within a week he responded and assured us that he would help us with the building of our fence.
Ramirez said she saw the urgency of the fence because without one, the kids are vulnerable to passersby on the highway. For her, it’s a matter of safety.
Principal Shevon Ramirez Mendez
Now that we have our fence I am of the firm belief that the level of vandalism and the break in to the school will be minimal. Parents and teachers mentioned that they feel at peace knowing that their child is being protected by the fence. Everyone here at St. Jude is proud of the fence. It is a visible reminder of the success to come here at St. Jude it also reminded me that leadership comes at all levels from all those who are prepared to make a difference and take responsibility of making change happen within their community or constituency.
We caught up with Area representative Julius Espat who shared with us how he was able to put together the funds needed to start and complete the fencing project at St Jude in Camalote Village.
Area Representative Julius Espat
When I heard a fence I said “well yes man we will help unuh with the fence”, but then when we came out and started to measure it was a substantial project so, to be able to give her a definite response I had to go and find to see if we could get the appropriate financing which we did. The way we financed it was a combination of the community vote I donated maybe about 5 months of my salary my business gave a substantial contribution and we went to other businesses throughout the Cayo district that helped us with materials and then the Cayo South committee put in some of the labor in conjunction with the community .The principal is right, we could not have done it if the chairman of the village didn’t cooperate with us. He gave us the green light from the beginning even though we are from opposing parties it shows that in Belize we can work together. He also acquired some of the land for the school, which I think is an honorable thing, and we started from there and we are here now. This is not the last project that we will be doing, just that what we do in Cayo South we tend to go from village to village looking at the needs of the communities. So it’s been pretty good. The value of the fence approximately 75,000 Bz dollars.
We note that even as the project was being completed a few young men from the community were already vandalizing the fence. We urge residents to help the school take care of its assets.