Wilson Sporting Goods Company donates volleyballs and basketballs

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THE Simpson Penn and Willie Mae Pratt Centre for Boys and Girls respectively got a much-needed boost to their athletic programme on Wednesday, thanks to a donation from Wilson Sporting Goods Company.

Ricardo Demeritte Jr, the representative for the American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois, said after the Kiwanis Club of Nassau reached out to him, he was delighted to secure the donation of basketballs and volleyballs to the co-ed school for their athletic programme.

After reviewing the facilities in Fox Hill, Demeritte said he intends to work with the various sporting associations and federations to see if they can assist the programme as well, if not with equipment, their time and energy in helping to further develop the skills of the young boys and girls enrolled in the schools.

“They are trying to use sports as a therapeutic way of focusing the attention of the young people on something different in helping them with their transformation,” Demeritte said. “We talked briefly with them about inviting some of the junior high teams to come back and scrimmage against them.”

Basketball is expected to be first on the agenda.

Principal Renee Bowe said they appreciate the gesture from Wilson Sports as it came at the appropriate time.

“When the equipment is being distributed from the Ministry (of Education, Science and Technology and Youth, Sports and Culture), often times they forget that there is a little school here that needs some as well. So we have been neglected over the years, so these items are God sent. We were down to nothing.”

Bowe said some members of staff donated some volleyballs last year, but it wasn’t sufficient.

She noted that while they are limited in equipment, they still try to provide a well-rounded sporting programme for the 40-plus students who are enrolled in the schools.

“When the regular schools play their sporting disciplines, we do the same thing,” she stated. “We have a sports day just like the other schools. This is a regular school with math, English, social studies, health science, religious studies, computer studies, physical education, barbering and cosmetology.

“It’s a regular school and we noticed that the children in here perform better than when they are out. Because they are in a contained environment, we get good results out of them. I doubted it last year, but when I put the report together, A-C passes were 86 per cent. That’s unheard of in the regular school. That shows you the role that consistency and discipline play in the school system.”

Bowe, who has been in office there since 2010, said the school has also produced students with excellent BJC results with one achieving five passes, another with four and the person who got the four had already gotten two passes the year before.

Another student also got three to go along with a few more passes she had the year before.

“We do well here. Their diet is correct, their sleep is correct and they must attend school,” she pointed out.

“They do really well when they are in here. A lot of them are here because of a lack of parenting. In here, the state becomes their parents, so they perform. Many of them came here not being able to read and we have a special reading programme to help them to read.”

By the time they return to their homes, Bowe said they try to ensure that they are well-rounded student athletes.

So any assistance they can receive like the donation they got from Wilson Sporting Goods will go along way in assisting them in achieving their goals, Bowe added.