ST Joseph's Infant School has undergone an energy transformation after being awarded first place in the Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) 'Go Green, Go Solar' competition earlier this year.
St Joseph's was awarded the top spot on the merits of its approach to education, while maintaining a solid commitment to environmental preservation. The Duke Street, Kingston-based school prize package included a 3KW Photo-Voltaic (PV) and installation courtesy of the ATL Energy Solutions division.
The competition was open to early childhood educational institutions registered with the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Commission. Schools from across the island submitted entries and letters outlining their needs, energy consumption patterns, and reasons why they should be selected for the top prize of the Solar PV system.
“Of all the entries we received, St Joseph's really stood out. Their energy needs were valid and we were really impressed with their innovative and technological approach to education, as well as their commitment to the continued modernisation of their school facilities to provide stimulating environments for their students,” said Tonya Russell, ATL's marketing manager.
The school, which operates 10 classrooms, utilises student computers and tablets, a music room and dance studio to support its active involvement in the performing arts, lit bathrooms, multiple offices and heavy kitchen equipment, racking up bills in excess of $100,000 monthly. “We are working to become the model infant school in the heart of downtown Kingston. Our school has infused technology in our daily activities in all areas, especially our classrooms,” said Rose Marie Clarke, principal, St Joseph's Infant School.
The principal said that going green has always been an important mandate of the school, and on a number of occasions the leadership at the institution approached several companies in a bid to acquire solar panels to support its energy conservation mantra.
“Our goal to be energy efficient is a must. Our school being selected as the winners of the PV system has allowed us to accomplish one of our goals, that of acquiring solar panels. This is a dream come 'true',” Clarke said. “The solar panels will not only help us to save revenue, but more so to help reinforce the school's mandate to lead by example in the use of renewable energy. This forms a part of a wider project to help teach our 300 students and at least 600 adults that we must work at all cost to ensure that we save our environment,” Clarke added.
As part of its modernisation efforts, the school has emphasised the enhancement of classroom stimulation and socialisation through the implementation of the Tablet in Schools programme. All 300 students have access to individual tablets, charging carts, projectors, and there is required air conditioning in some classrooms. The school also has a newly established resource room which serves as a multi-purpose education hub and meeting area for parents' weekly workshops.