Kingston, Jamaica – October 17, 2017: The Reliance Basic School in Braeton, St Catherine is in for a major upgrade, thanks to a partnership between 2017 Digicel Rising Star winner Akeem “Short Boss” Smith and Digicel Foundation. Akeem has chosen the school as his charity of choice to benefit from the Foundation’s donation of J$1.5 million that’s part of his overall winnings in the talent show.
“The world is nothing without education,” said Akeem, whose daughter is in her second year at the early childhood institution. “The school is where we start to prepare our young ones to go out into the world. It is so important, not only for our community of Phase Three, Braeton - Portmore, but also for children from outside the area to come here and learn. It means everything to me.”
The funds will go towards renovation and expansion of classrooms, building a resource area, setting up a multipurpose room and erecting a perimeter fence. Akeem is elated that he is able to make such a great impact. He shared, “I want the kids from the community to have a more comfortable environment – a ‘home away from home.’ This will really encourage them to learn more.”
The school has been serving the community since 1988 and currently has forty-eight pupils on roll. Principal, Judith Royal Gardner welcomed the partnership and commented, “The Reliance Basic School is most grateful for the assistance.” She is especially delighted that the school will have a fence that will provide a safer environment for students. Principal Royal Gardner is hopeful that the planned improvements will help Reliance Basic to obtain certification from the Early Childhood Commission - a goal the administration is working hard to achieve.
CEO of the Digicel Foundation, Dane Richardson, said the Foundation is delighted to be partnering with another Rising Star winner this year. "We congratulate Akeem on his win,” Richardson shared. “We are happy to be working with him on this project. Clearly, he is a man with a strong community spirit, and this will be a welcome contribution.”
Principal Royal Gardner is optimistic about the future: “This is where everything starts. This is the foundation. We are looking forward to providing much more for our students, thanks to Akeem and the Digicel Foundation.”