School officials and students at the Salina Point Primary School in Salina Point, Acklins have become great examples of how schools can effect positive change within their communities while also helping to preserve the environment with the launch of a Tyre Recycling and Refurbishment Project. Taking note of the number of old tyres strewn about the community and within the vicinity of the school’s campus, they decided to do something about it and launched an Art Project aimed at recycling/refurbishing the tyres into decorative pieces of art, while also taking special measures to ensure the tyres would not become homes for mosquitoes. Students began collecting the old tyres in the community at the beginning of the 2019 school year and have been using paint and varnish, among other measures, to refurbish them into decorative art. So far, the tyres have been used as flowerpots and vegetable gardens among other uses.
The Art Project was also the result of students, administrators, and the staff’s eagerness to assist 11-year old 6th Grader Jada Tatiana Forbes-Lockhart known as a “budding artist” who was chosen as the school’s Student of the Year nominee in obtaining a scholarship. It has since mushroomed into something much larger – an “all out effort” to help preserve the environment while also combating the environmental and public health issues associated with old tyres becoming habitats for mosquitoes. “Jada has worked hard to help with beach clean-up and our school beautification,” School Principal Ms. Nicola Williams said.
“She is a very hardworking, disciplined student who works independently and is intrinsically motivated. Jada is also a great athlete and loves to explore her artistic talent and read. She has done well academically and has maintained a grade point average of three point and above for her primary years. She has won numerous trophies and certificates at the school and island level. She is an excellent reader and is always willing to help others. She serves as class monitor, lunchroom assistant, and reading buddy.” It is mainly because of the last three qualities and Jada’s constant willingness to help others that school officials and students decided to pitch in and help with the project.
“The idea of doing a tyre project came as a result of seeing the number of old tyres in the community,” said Jada, a key participant in the project along with her mother, Ms. Mannessa Forbes. “Mrs. (Dawn) Singh, our lower primary school teacher and an artist, showed me a series of beautiful tyre decorations on Facebook and we decided to undertake the Project.” Principal Williams said the Project has further strengthened the bond between the school and the community. The Project has become so successful that school officials hope to expand the work. “It is our hope to continue the project to beautify our compound while protecting our environment,” Principal Williams said. “We could even use this as a method to raise funds as community members are interested in purchasing the remodeled tyres and decorate their gates.”
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, along with Minister for the Public Service and National Insurance, the Hon. Brensil A. Rolle, applauded young Jada, school officials and students, and the community of Salina Point for their support of the project. The two Ministers visited Salina Point Primary – one of six schools in the Acklins and Crooked Island District they visited during a recent Official Trip to the District. Minister Campbell used the opportunity to address school students about his ministry’s initiatives with regards to its child protection efforts, while Minister Rolle challenged the students to be steadfast and focused on education. “I was fascinated by the quality of the work and pleased to know that it involves an item that would otherwise become not only an eyesore within the community and the school campus, but also an environmental and possible public health threat because of the water the tyres can collect,” Minister Campbell said.
“But because of some inspiration, some sense of innovation coming from a child, that very same item can now positively impact the environment, the aesthetics of the environment, and possibly impact the pocketbook because I am advised that persons in the community have submitted requests to purchase them.” Minister Campbell also applauded Forbes-Lockhart for her commitment to being the best student possible. Forbes-Lockhart boasts a 3.75 GPA. “It is not often that you find children of that age knowing exactly what it is they want to do, or working towards what they ultimately want to be,” he said. “Jada is fortunate to have made such a decision and to be receiving the kind of support to make it a worthwhile one and one that offers great hope and potential. “The entire school is excited about her and she is also fortunate to be benefiting from the support of the administration all the way up to the Principal who is personally involved. I believe that can become contagious and infectious if the story is shared throughout other communities,” Minister Campbell added.