The St. Thomas Renaissance Foundation obtained a donation of 1,100 Chromebooks from Google, the multinational technology company, for its mathematics honors college program. The Chromebooks, which have been valued at $27 million (JMD), were presented to St. Thomas Technical High School at a ceremony on May 6, 2022, attended by Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, and will be distributed to students throughout the parish. The Foundation’s program is designed to help raise the percentage of passing grades in the CSEC Mathematics Exam at all of the high schools in St. Thomas Parish and at Happy Grove High School in Portland.
Education Minister Williams welcomed Google’s donation, noting that it fits in with the Ministry’s goal of ensuring that every student has the appropriate technology devices to support their learning. Williams added that technology is and will be a critical part of Jamaica’s education system and that the “One Laptop or Tablet Per Child” initiative has already provided 200,000 devices to students across the island.
Jamaica’s Ministry of Education uses the Google Classroom Learning Management System to link the nation’s students with their teachers in a virtual environment. This was a particularly crucial factor for education during the past two years during the COVID-19 lock-down when lessons were provided remotely.
Beverley Hyatt, a master mathematics teacher, is the head of the new Mathematics Honors College program initiated by the St. Thomas Renaissance Foundation. In the program, lessons and training in mathematics are given to groups of students chosen from each high school in the parish who then return to their schools and act as mentors to their peers.
Google’s donation is thought to be the biggest single donation ever provided to a nonprofit in St. Thomas. The donation was made possible by Camille Stewart and Danielle Veira. Stewart is the global head of product security strategy at Google, and her parents were mathematics and science teachers at St. Thomas Technical High School. Veira is the founder and CEO of Minerva’s Legacy Consulting Group, a consultancy that seeks to empower organizations and individual leaders who want to change the world.