The Cayman Islands government’s John Gray and Clifton Hunter High School Automotive Club now have two decommissioned vehicles to further nurture their studies in car mechanics.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service donated a 2004 Chevrolet Impala and a 2005 Ford Explorer, which were part of the routine police service fleet management programme to the Extended After School Programme. The programme is a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment.
According to the police service, normally the vehicles would be auctioned off, but following discussions with leaders of the club, police management felt that the benefits to the club and local young people far outweighed those of selling them.
On Wednesday, RCIPS Chief Inspector Raymond Christian along with public relations officer Janet Dougall went to John Gray to interact with the students as they checked out the working of the car with teacher Barrington Griffiths.
Taking her turn at connecting jumper cables to the battery, Selena Sookoonsing said she joined the club to enhance her knowledge in automotive technology, because it was good to know what is underneath the hood of a car and she loved watching the movie “The Fast and the Furious”.
Jordan Scott said he wanted to learn more about cars and how they operate.
“This is a great example of how inter-agency collaboration can provide our young people with choices and better prepare them for the future,” Mr. Christian said. “Without this club, and the many other provided through the Extended After School Programme, some of these young people may spend their time wandering the streets or become tempted to get involved in criminality or anti-social behaviour. This club gives them a clear focus, provides them with valuable life skills and a great opportunity to develop and expand their interest in cars. But, above all, it provides a safe environment for the students to have fun while they learn,” he said.
Ministry of Education Programme Coordinator Michael Myles said: “The club is a fantastic opportunity for children and their parents to be provided a safe, structured and caring environment. The Ministry of Education is excited to support this programme and ensure that all parents have peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for and protected, Monday through Friday, 3 to 6pm.”
He said the partnership with the police service has proved that when we work together, great things can be created for our children.
“The EASP complements the Ministry of Education’s five year National Strategic Plan which is to ensure all of our children are provided with safer schools and activities,” he said. “On behalf of the ministry, we thank all of our sponsors who continue to make this programme possible for all of our children.”
The club was launched in September 2011 and is open to youngsters between the ages of 11 and 17 at John Gray High School. An average of 90 students now attend the twice-weekly sessions where they learn all about the workings of cars and the safety issues related to mechanics.
Shortly thereafter EASP was taken into Cayman’s Primary Schools, increasing the uptake by another 400 students.
The programme aims to provide; comprehensive, high quality youth development activities that will provide after school educational, therapeutic, recreational, mentoring and cultural programmes and services designed to improve the social, emotional and academic competencies of school aged children; methods to increase parental participation with their child and the school; an intense intervention programme for younger students who are at risk.
This school year, the EASP has a programme at the following schools: Cayman Brac, John Gray and Clifton Hunter High Schools, Cayman Islands Further education Centre, Bodden Town, George Town, West Bay, East End, North Side, Prospect, and Red Bay Primary Schools and the Lighthouse School.