St. George’s Preparatory Students Give Back

September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

[Written by Vejay Steede]

For the students of the St. George’s Preparatory School [SGPS], this week has been about much more than getting back to school. An initiative was presented to them at their first assembly on Tuesday morning.

P6 Teacher, Social Studies Teacher Leader, and resident Good Samaritan, Tamara Sukdeo, told the school about the recent devastation that has famously befallen the Bahamas at the hands of Hurricane Dorian, describing to the children how numerous families have been displaced, and how many more have lost everything.

Miss Sukdeo then asked the children to go home that day, look through their own closets and drawers to find items of clothing or shoes that may not fit them anymore, and bring those items to school so they could be sent to the children of the Bahamas.

The school thusly set about compiling clothes for children sized newborn to 16, and adults from small through to XL. Letters were sent home, parents were encouraged to help their children sort through clothes at home and send what they could, and a spirit of giving and helping our fellow man in need was ignited with a bang!

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Each student was also asked to write a short greeting letter to the people of the Bahamas; wishing them well and encouraging them to tread on in the face of adversity. Many students drew pictures to help comfort their contemporaries to the south as well.

Friday, September 13, 2019 was set as the deadline for submitting items, as well as the day all the clothes would be sorted and boxed by students and staff at SGPS. The idea is that each box will contain clothes that will fit a specific child, so if a mother has a daughter who wears size 8, then that mother would be given a box of size 8 girl’s clothes from the students of SGPS in Bermuda.

The response by the SGPS community was emphatic! Friday was an “All hands on deck” kind of day, with clothes, shoes, linens, towels, toiletries, hats, bags and boxes covering the floor of every classroom in the building. It was a herculean effort to get the dozens of large bags of clothes sorted, folded, and boxed, and every student helped, along with several parents and a few other community volunteers.

Organizer Tamara Sukdeo described the initiative thusly: “As a part of our school’s efforts to be a caring community and global citizens, a ‘Day of Giving’ was organized for September 13. Students, parents and friends of Prep donated gently used and new clothes, shoes, linens and toiletries for infants through adults. The children’s clothes were boxed to include enough clothes, undergarments, pajamas and outerwear for one or two children for seven days.”

“The students were truly purposeful in their work today by sorting, matching and boxing clothes for their island peers. All students – from our smallest and newest members of the Prep Family to our senior students – learned about The Bahamas and what it means to be neighborly. Hand-written letters will accompany the boxes for the children that receive the clothes. We would love to hear from them in the future.”

“In the end more than 65 boxes were collected destined for the Bahamas, to be included in a shipment within the next few weeks.”

Thrilled with the effort put in by the entire SGPS community, Miss Sukdeo went on to say, “Without the support of the staff, children and parents, this would not have been the amazing success that it was. St. George’s Prep is very thankful and pray that the items will bring comfort to the families in the Bahamas.”

“The idea behind today’s effort was to engage the entire school body in being global citizens with purpose behind their actions. We want to impact other families in the way that we would want to be impacted if we were in need.”

“Every child was involved in this activity. We were pressed to get this done in a short time period which created an empowering sense of urgency; this brought parents and children, relatives and friends together for a truly worthy cause.”

All told, an eye-watering number of boxes filled with clothes, linens, toiletries, towels, and shoes of all sizes were loaded onto the truck and delivered to the export center at around 2:00pm Friday afternoon. The students helped load the truck, and the staff, parents, and volunteers beamed with pride in their budding young Samaritans.

Gail Smith, Principal of SGPS said, “Thank you to everyone for your extreme generosity in sending in clothing items. We received an overwhelming amount!”

“Thank you to our social studies teacher leader, Ms. Tamara Sukdeo, for organizing this day and for the entire St. George’s Prep staff who pulled together in a way that can only be called TEAM. The students deserve a huge round of applause for such dedication – it was amazing to watch them work with such purpose.”

Finally, she added, “In addition, we had several family volunteers who gave up their time to sort, pack and load over 65 boxes. Thank you! This is a day to be remembered and a demonstration of true learning.”

It was a week of settling into new classes, getting focused on academic endeavors again, and learning how to help others when they are in need. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned when you close the books and move your heart.

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