$10,000 Per School: Adopt A School

December 1, 2010

During a press conference this afternoon (Dec 1) the Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith publicly recognised members of the community who have signed up to be a part of the Adopt A School initiative, which included former Premier Dr Ewart Brown, Minister Zane DeSilva and Senator David Burt.

The Adopt A School programme is the brainchild of Minister Smith, and involves members of the community agreeing to “adopt” or “sponsor” a school and provide $10,000 per year to assist in infrastructure upkeep. To date combined sponsorship from participants amounts to $60,000.

Burt Construction agreed to sponsor Northlands school. Minister Zane Desilva, his wife Joanne and Island Construction Company Limited agreed to adopt Heron Bay Primary School. Mr. James Kerwin and Rock Media adopted Francis Patton Primary and Harrington Sound Primary, and former Premier Dr Ewart Brown and Bermuda Healthcare Services have also adopted two schools – Victor Scott Primary and Harrington Sound Primary.

All of these adoptions are for up to $10,000 for repairs per school, per year.

Pictured below are the Minister of Education flanked by the Adopt A School participants and recipients. L to R: Front Row: Heron Bay Primary School Principal, Mrs. Joanne Dill, Joanne DeSilva, Minister Zane DeSilva, Minister Smith, David Burt Sr. and Francis Patton Acting Principal Suzette Cheeseman. L to R: Back Row: Victor Scott Primary Principal Valerie Williams, Sen. David Burt, Oxford Communications CEO, Jim Kerwin and Harrington Sound Primary Principal Lisa Smith.

Adopt A School participants

Dame Jennifer`s full statement is below:

Good afternoon.

There’s a hard, but honest truth that we have all come to understand in Government; and that is that we can’t do it alone!

Everything that we do is a joint effort. Likewise, trying to ensure that our public school facilities are clean, safe and sturdy environments for successful learning, needs the support of Government and the private sector.

Today, I am pleased to recognise just two of our private partners. Minister the Hon. Zane DeSilva and Mr. James Kerwin.

These gentlemen have partnered with the public education system to ensure that our school buildings are repaired, painted and physically in order on a timely basis.

They, and we, understand the importance of a supportive environment if our students and their teachers are to do their best work.

This is not to say that great work can’t be done in bad circumstances – it is!

But, even greater work can be done when the environment is conducive and supportive.

I want these two gentlemen and former Premier the Hon. Dr. Ewart Brown to be recognised as the vanguard of a movement to give back to the schools that nurtured us. None of us would be where we are without education.

Sitting in a classroom right now is the future scientist who will discover the cure for cancer, the future leaders of this country in all areas – government, business, religion, education, community service – are sitting in classrooms right now!

And it is our job to make sure they are the best!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have to single out Minister DeSilva because shortly assuming the post of Minister of Education, he offered to help in any way he could. When I told him about my plan to ask construction companies to adopt a school – he immediately offered the services of Island Construction Company Limited.

Principals and teachers are intimately aware of the difficulty encountered in making schools physically ready each year.

Sometimes a small problem unattended becomes a larger problem.

All because we have aging facilities with no current means of responding to their maintenance issues on a timely basis.

It was this situation that sparked the “Adopt A School” programme. I chose to focus on Primary Schools because they lay the foundation for all other learning and because they are (generally) the older facilities.

The response – largely generated by Minister DeSilva’s enthusiasm – has been such that I want to announce today that the program will be extended beyond construction companies to individuals, businesses and organisations who want to give “in kind” donations.

This would include offers to paint and repair; offers of plumbing, electrical or carpentry services, and offers of landscaping services. Additionally, individuals could band together to purchase paint and materials.

He agreed and immediately offered to adopt a school and to get others involved in the programme.

Today, the Ministry of Education wishes to publicly recognise and thank the Hon. Zane Desilva and Island Construction Company Limited; Mr. James Kerwin and Rock Media and former Premier the Hon. Dr. Ewart Brown and Bermuda Healthcare Services

Minister DeSilva has adopted Heron Bay Primary School and the Principal, Mrs. Joanne Dill is present.

Mr. Kerwin has adopted two schools – Francis Patton Primary and Harrington Sound Primary. And their Principals are also present. Acting Principal Suzette Cheeseman and Principal Lisa Smith respectively.

The Hon. Dr. Brown has also adopted two schools – Victor Scott Primary and Harrington Sound Primary.

Their Principals Valerie Williams and Lisa Smith are present.

All of these adoptions are for up to $10,000 for repairs per school, per year.

It is important to publicly recognise such acts of generosity which demonstrate, for our students, in a very tangible way that the wider world does care about them.

Minister; Mr. Kerwin; thank you for your commitment to the children of Bermuda and to enhancing their public education experience.

Your willingness to Adopt-A-School in the amount of $10,000 in labour per school year means that our students’ studies will not be interrupted by the need for repairs or maintenance to an aging facility.

Not only will your contribution see an improvement in the physical plant of our schools but the adoption of a school means that the student body will benefit from the special interest you take in ensuring that their physical plant is maintained to the best of your ability.

Ladies and gentlemen, again, if we are to successfully address the concerns expressed by parents, the community and yes the media, it will require the help of every resident and business in Bermuda.

For this reason, I am particularly pleased that you Minister DeSilva and you Mr. Kerwin agreed to make a contribution of this nature.

Your donation is a positive step forward in the relationship between schools and community, and you are setting a standard that will reap immense benefits for the entire Island.

It is my sincere hope that other organisations will follow your lead.

Thank you very much.

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Comments (56)

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  1. Nice.. says:

    Nice idea – great feel good factor and pleasing to see people digging deep to help the schools although given the state some are in, ten grand isn’t going to go very far… I must say though, why not just privatise the lot of them? Government can allot a set amount per school per child and provide guidlines to the minimum curriculum required, but the board, academic and staffing decisions, additional fund raising efforts, maintenence, etc, is all left in the hands of a private board of directors. Just a thought…

    • Very Nice says:

      Well put. The best thing we could do for our kids is to disbane the Ministry of Education and privatize the schools. It’s doable, all we need to do is have the guts to demand real change.

    • jake says:

      If the good doctor would have given less money to Zane and Rock Newman we would have monies to fund such improvements. Camouflage is alive and well in this isle of devils.

  2. Kiss Mi Rass says:

    If these muthaf***** didn’t waste the People’s money to begin with, there wouldn’t need to be this adoption program.

    • Kiss Mi Too says:

      Yup…this is little more than the govt with it’s cap out. I’ve never seen such will dressed beggars. If govt can no longer afford to maintain their schools then I think every Bermudian needs to open an HSBC account and hold tight…cause you ain’t seen nothing Yet!

    • LOL says:

      Someone who gets it. Thank you (claps)

  3. Tigga says:

    Great idea – forget the bills, never mind the rent, save for the future? Nah! Im gonna buy into this instead. I know – Im gonna start an ‘adopt a mortgage’ program – I could use the help.

  4. B.B. says:

    @rass – i think you got it right mate.

    look how many millions have been wasted on beyonce, the pga grand slam etc. while i believe some of those events did generate some (not much) good for tourism, wouldn’t that money been better spent at home? we should be investing in the future of our country by educating and facilitating the needs of the children of bermuda. spending money on our people so that they can provide the high quality services that an offshore jurisdiction like ours requires. disproportionate spending on tourism initiatives and travel to global events should be questioned when we can not even afford to maintain our education system.

    the people who should be most upset with the bermuda government are those who can not even speak for themselves – our children!

    i sincerely hope Dame Jen and Paula’s government will fix the education mess. for all our sakes.

    nice to see some donation and effort but there is a bigger problem to be a addressed here clearly.

    best of luck with this difficult task.


  5. Truth is killin' me says:

    Nah…nah…nahh…you people have got it all wrong. You are there (for us the elected mebers of the government) to struggle paying your mortgages and rents while we eat off the fat of the land and tax you to death. This program merely lets us spend more on us from what we take from you in taxes and allows us to spend less from our collective elected pay packets. Got it!!!

  6. S says:

    Check the records… these ppl had money before joining government.. Stop hating on ppl trying to help Bermuda .. Such a negative crowd. GROW UP

    • Sara says:

      You don’t see anything wrong with a shiny new TCD building and unfinished over budgeted shiny new courthouse building, yet no money to paint our schools? What is wrong WITH YOU? You can’t be THAT blind.

      • LOL says:

        $25 million dock cost overruns added to that.

        How about this one? $15,000 per month office rental in Washington DC since September 2009 that is still vacant.

        • Sara says:

          EXACTLY, I am all for hoping the best for this new PLP, but we can’t IGNORE the past right???

    • Truth is killin' me says:

      You’re delusional and must be blind or you’re related to one of the takers! Truth hurts sometimes.

    • 32n64w says:

      A few of them may have had some money but since the PLP came to power and the F&F plan commenced their personal fortunes have grown considerably. Check the records.

  7. Isheena says:

    Thank You to everyone that has adpoted/sponsered a School. My children and I really apreaciate it, it shows you care just as much as we do.

    • LOL says:

      Just think if the Government cared enough about the taxpayer’s money enough to utilize it in a manner where they don’t have to ask the taxpayer, many of which are already overburdened, to bail them out. I don’t have the money to help this cause, and it’s not because I don’t care. Perhaps if so many taxes had not been raised months ago, I would.

  8. crazytalk says:

    If they hadn’t spent a billion dollars on vanity projects over the past 5 years they wouldn’t have to do this. Here’s an idea: fire 3 useless civil servants out of the 6,000 or so, and there you’d have the $10k per school you need. Or, fire Rolfe right away. That would easily save this amount of money.
    They won’t of course. Too many vested people feeding from the trough.

    • LOL says:

      AHHH Rolfe. Now there’s 100 thousand saved right there, that can be distributed to 10 schools.

  9. Peace and Love says:

    I think that this is a grand idea..so grand that I would like to put it out there for someone to “adopt” Dellwood Middle School….we don’t have a school field and have to travel elsewhere or “borrow” the neighboring field..It would be nice to host a “home” game at our school field for a change…..Just putting it out in the atmosphere…..

    • Fed Up Bermudian says:

      No matter what you do to that field, it still isn’t a suitable size for middle-school sports. Sorry, the truth is that our kids at Dellwood would be better served by finding ways to keep them engaged in learning what they need to be competitive in the big bad world. Many schools worldwide aren’t as well equipped as ours, and our children fall further and further behind. It’s not about the grounds, it’s about what happens in the classrooms. And whatever that secret sauce is to success, we aren’t giving enough of it to our kids, and it really doesn’t have a lot to do with having a field to host sports events. It has more to do with parental support, the desire of the students themselves to learn, and the competency of the teachers.

      • Peace and Love says:

        Well the teachers here at Dellwood are competent..so that part is taken care of.as far as the students learning..those that wish to learn are learning, and they are also the ones that do their hoemwork, do their projects, and hand in their assignments..they are also the students whose parents attend EVERY PTA… meeting snd event pertaining to their child/children. Our young people that are failing unfortunately do the opposite..they don’t do their homework or hand in their assignments and we don’t see their parents at PTA meetings and have Hell getting them here for meetings…but with that aside the article states that the “adoption” per say is for infrastructure and upkeep and according to the Dictionary “infrastructure” refers to the basic upkeep of facilities for a place to function. This can include water pipes, roadworks, painting, roof repairs,power lines..etc..Okay so maybe our field is not big enough to host sporting events, but it is large enough to provide an area where our young people can burn off steam so that they are able to remain focused in class..I did not mean for this to turn into a debate, .because if that was the case than what you are referring to in your post I guess applies to all the schools including those that have been “adopted” .Our water system is also in disarray and if you have a child here you would know what I mean as we have been sent home several times due to the fact that there is no water, one tank would be full but it is not draining into the pipes as it should ..So @ “Fed up” maybe if we had more parental support and children willing to do as they should along with teachers like myself, who are willing to go the extra mile than we will be successful, but right now the adoption process is focusing on infrastructure ….and I would still like to see a school field for our kids as extra curricular activites are an important part of a child’s progress as well….

        • 32n64w says:

          Peace & Love – your concerns are well placed and reflect a total lack of proper, reasonable and informed prioritisation by this Government. It is clear that various Ministers have, for years, been permitted to spend taxpayer funds on vanity projects and boondoggles with little or no discernible benefit for the community at large or, more importantly, the welfare of our children.

          The fact there are those in the community who turn a blind eye to this or, even worse, condone such action (i.e. it’s our turn now) is ridiculous, short sighted and selfish. We are each more than just a cog in the wheel.

    • LOL (original) says:

      I would like to know why other schools have been upgraded two and three times and Port Royal have not had an up grade yet by Government. They were told that it was not their turn yet like 5 years ago. Don’t get me wrong this is a good idea but to me I see crooks giving back a little of what they stole to save political face or political gain. My question is were is the money for the education system that school get to the point of closure due to lack of funds. Spend spend spend someone always has to pay in the end. Till Government gets a hold of it’s spending still………….


  10. nameless says:

    OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED. Our Esteemed Doctor is giving back all of $20,000 of the money
    Has he even been back since he GTFOed the day Premier Cox stepped in?
    Anger over that aside, it is a great initiative, and I hope it benefits the kids.

  11. LOL says:

    To all who think we’re being negative, it’s not about being negative. THINK about where money has been unaccounted for, overspent, and ignorantly spent, and then figure out that this is why the Government is now coming to the taxpayer begging for assistance in this ‘feel good’ adopt a school scheme. Hell, one of the local insurance companies had to donate $60,000 this past summer just for the Government summer programs. Don’t you get it YET?

    • nameless says:


    • Sara says:

      NO, they don’t GET IT. It is so obvious. Behind the scenes, these people are being fed crap on a silver spoon. I can tell

      • jake says:

        I agree with your comment in that it is the same crap but different feeders. The old govt dished a lot of BS as well and at some expense.

        In short, most politicians learn their craft at the alter of greed and avarice.. This is time honoured and absolutely runs rampant in all quarters of the world.

        • Sara says:

          Logic says that is why the people elect DIFFERENT parties in a democratic society. They get tired of the bs of one party and give the other party a chance to do something different. Just like in 1998 when people choose change. Now look at the UBP. I hate to tell you, but politicians don’t have change of hearts until they loose an election. Very sad, but true!

  12. Yung n Thuggin says:

    So was it OK for the 40 thieves to rob us blind..I think im fine with the PLP robbing me !!!

    • Truth is killin' me says:

      @ Yung n Thuggin Yah…two wrongs make a right innit! Just like when one of yah boys get’s shot and kiled…it’s ok to do the same. STFU with your blind/green leading the blind/green mentality!

    • Old n living right says:

      Note…while the 40thieves were robbing us blind, we were still prospering (doing good). The economy was great, there was hardly any crime and people were gainfully employed. Now that the PLP has done it, who have they done it too? People of their own colour. We all laughed when the silos were taken away from Butterfield but look who’s laughing now. Not Butterfield, not us, but Brown and his boys. All that money spent and wasted, was OURS!! Now we still have to pay it back.
      When was the last time any of you visited some of the schools? Whitney needs to be rebuilt as does Victor Scott. Schools take a beating and $10K is not going to do it. It takes $10K just to paint a school (and that’s a low estimate).

      • jake says:

        No excuse for robbing us blind and you know very well that many people of colour were not doing well.

        The PLP have failed miserably and hopefullly this Premier will somehow right the ship, however make no mistake, the UBP were not without huge, significant faults and many became very, very wealthy as a result of being well positioned politically.

        The PLP under the good doctor has been awful and as a PLP supporter there is no excuse for the blatant abuses carried out over the past few years. Having said that, returning to what was is not an option for me and many others and there lies the real problem that we face in this community.

        • LOL (original) says:

          So Jake that means if the PLP was the worst thing to happen to Bermuda you would still vote them in because of the UBP’s past? Would you vote BDA if it was the lesser of two evils (my option) or because the people running came from the UBP and non political parts people you would not vote for them either? Is there not a danger in continuously voting in the same party regardless of poor performance? Is this not what happened with the UBP as well? So far the only PLP supporter who makes any sense to me is “Yng Blank Mind” but I can’t vote for this person becuse I believe that the PLP has no like for white people other that what they can get from them even if all some of us have is a small apt. with mouths to feed as they tax everyone including yourself to make up for their mismanagement. I guess being rapped by your own isn’t rape then……………..

          LOL please and not I do not suppor a party due to any influences out side of will it benifit Bermuda so far their all jokers but the PLP have had their turn 4.5 billion in debt blame who you want the facts are the facts.

        • The truth shall set you free says:

          Jake, the PLP aren’t even the same group that was voted in back in 1998. The faces have changed, and they don’t even uphold the grass-root beliefs that they were founded on. This isn’t Dame Lois or Freddie Wade’s PLP. The UBP despite their faults, ran this country like a business by understanding that you don’t spend more than you earn. And if you do, make sure it’s on something that nets a long term return on investment. The PLP administration has been defined by unaccounted millions, cost overruns, and foolish spending on lavish hotels and other ‘privileges’ that do nothing to advance the country.

          And now they’ve replaced the former Premier with a smiling, well-mannered snake in the grass who signed off on all the misspending, was guaranteed the Premiership well before she took over, and decides to hold onto the Finance Ministry, likely to cover her own tracks, than hand off the Ministry to Terry Lister who is far more intelligent in matters of finances and economy.

          The PLP have run a social agenda of trying to balance the economic scales between white and blacks, and instead have evolved in an elitist party where a small number of Blacks are living like Kings and ‘getting theirs’ ,while the rest struggle to pay mortgage, rent, send their children to inferior public schools, and shoot at each other every weekend. Despite the PLP’s attempts to make this about the emancipation of Black Bermudians, the reality is that Black Bermuda is still well behind Whites and Portuguese economically and socially. Don’t let the fact that we have a ‘Black’ Government, or you see a few well dressed Black men and women walking down Front Street, to be any indication that the Black community has ‘arrived’. You’ve got Blacks shooting each other, and calling each other house n##gers if you oppose the PLP. Does anyone think the Black community is further ahead than in 1998? If you do, I have an ocean in the Atlantic to sell you.

          To say that a return to the UBP is not an option is another way of saying you’ll continue to vote in the PLP no matter how poor they perform. Which gives them no incentive to be either accountable or competent. THERE is the problem in this community.

          • The truth shall set you free says:

            And to follow up on my comments regarding Paula Cox: Breaking news! Premier Cog was well off the mark on her predictions about the GDP. She said it would be as much as a 2.5% drop. WRONG, it’s 5.8% fall. But given how she’s managed the finances,it’s hardly shocking. That’s what happens when you have a lawyer handling our money. Do you hire a plumber to wire your house? No, you hire a damn electrician. You want someone with a clue handling our finances? Get an ECONOMIST or a Chartered Public/Management/whatever other designation Accountant.

            How much more evidence do you people need to see that you’ve got incompetents running this island?

    • UncleElvis says:

      Just wondering: when did someone say “it was ok for the 40 thieves to rob us blind”?

      I don’t think anyone has ever said that…

    • crazytalk says:

      Yung N Thuggin, your name indicates you might have first hand experience of people robbing people. Or at least, it indicates you think it’s glamorous somehow.
      The rest of us (the other 99% of the population) actually can’t stand ‘thugs’ or people who like to think of themselves as ‘thugs’. We despise people like that.
      Interesting isn’t it.

    • Sara says:

      Since when do two wrongs make a right? Your outlook is why Bermuda will continue to spiral down

    • Sara says:

      Not to mention the fact that the PLP was elected to CHANGE the way things were being done right??? So basically what you are saying is even though you voted them in based on change, you’re okay with getting screwed? Are you on the friends and family plan too?

    • LOL says:

      For f#ck sakes……This sums up the problem right here. So because the UBP did it then, it’s cool for the PLP to do it now? Did you vote in the PLP back in 1998 for change, or to continue the same thing by the prior Government. This mentality makes zero sense?

    • jake says:

      Really!! Really???

      Young man grow up. I trust that your comment is purely an emotional response and that even though the UBP practiced much of the same,ie, some for you, most for me politics, you are sensible enough to see the very dangerous road that this government is making us traverse..

      There is a very,very thin line between racism and elitism..The little guy always but always gets crushed…

  13. Sara says:

    One last thing I promise, young n thuggin’s statement really brings home how easily brainwashed many people in Bermuda are.

    • jake says:

      Yup.. since the beginning of time and most definitely during the UBP heydays. It is politics 101 and it works.

      How else do you end up with the recent Bush as President or Palin influencing elections or Doc doing his thing or Sir Henry, David etc etc making huge , massive profits from being on the inside?

      • Sara says:

        Good example, you see how in America, they got sick of old Bush and elected Obama, a different party! And guess what NOW they are sick of the Dems not doing anything and they elected the Republicans and now they are the house majority! You see how this works? Could you imagine if America NEVER switched parties for 15 plus years? Dear god, I don’t even want to imagine.

  14. Shakin' My Head says:

    Really – wasn’t it our new Premier that cut the Education budget??

  15. LOL (original) says:

    I note that none of the regular PLP PR people are in this thread must be too many undeniable things like that Government does not have the money to up keep Government Schools. Is that why they wanted to close all those schools? Yet give them selves a retro up grade to their pensions WTF. JS get her car bought and paid for but you will see her driving it on Sundays please this is a joke and all the PLP faithful can say is the 40 old dead guys did it don’t make me………….

    LOL casper has left the building…………….

  16. terry says:

    Quo Fata Frip…..

    You’ll get it.

  17. Kennette J Burgess says:

    I love it! Great job Dame Smith, we knew you were the right one for the job. This is an excellent initiative for our Public education system. Hope more patrons will give back. Shout out to my Alma Mater Francis Patton Primary School: Live Learn Love.

    • Hmm says:

      It’s an excellent initiative for a bankrupt Monarchy!! Long live the queen!!

  18. Nice.. says:

    So we got off topic, but really, why not have more schools adopt the St. Georges Prep model (which BTW is a total success yet is often reportedly threatened to be cut in budget cuts for some unknown reason… )? Even try privatising the boards as a 10 year trial.. They can’t get much worse, and there is WAY more upside than downside. If i had the money, i’d love to open a charter school on this Island… The education system can be fixed, but it takes commitment and desire. I truly believe Jennifer is in it to make it work, but I sure hope that they let her do what needs to be done to fix it… she’ll become unpopular, but I think that’s what it is going to take in teh short term.. one day, I hope we can label her a hero, which is what she’d be if she could fix this mess….

    To the teacher above from Dellwood, I salute your efforts. You are obviously passionate about what you do, and that is fantastic. You’re right, there are children who will fall through the cracks mostly because of unsupportive families, but while we will never bat a 100% average, i believe that we can collectively do better than we are doing now in educating Bermuda’s future.

  19. LOL says:

    I just hope that when the next election rolls around, that people recognize that this adoption scheme is an admission from the Government that they are too broke to maintain the schools. Because they have squandered our tax dollars away, tax dollars for which IS SUPPOSED to be used for, among other things, school upkeep.

  20. Derek Simons says:

    Chee just Tuesday Zane told his Construction staff they where not going to get a Christmas Bonus FIRST WORDS out of his mouth and then this big give away. That was a slap in our face i guess we are just his workers.

    • Sara says:

      Yes, I am so sure he and Correia are just having a hard time during these tough economic situation. You know, with the lack of contracts and all