Mission: Educate Bahamas donates library, technology lab to Sandilands Primary School
The students and faculty of Sandilands Primary School are now the proud owners of a brand new facility that features a fully-stocked library and modern computer lab with all the bells and whistles. Built and furnished by Mission: Educate Bahamas in conjunction with Aetos Holdings Limited (operators of the Wendy’s, Marco’s and Popeyes franchises in The Bahamas), the facility features 40 new computers, individual computer stations, a reading center and over 4,300 catalogued library books.
The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the donation of the library and technology lab was held at Sandilands Primary School on February 20. It was led by the students of Sandilands Primary, with remarks from Jerome Fitzgerald, minister of education, science and technology; and Fred Mitchell, Fox Hill MP and minister of foreign affairs, with interludes from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band and a Junkanoo “rush out” led by students. Dame Marguerite Pindling, governor general of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, was also in attendance.
“Mission: Educate Bahamas is extremely grateful to our sponsor Aetos Holdings Ltd. and the Tsavoussis family, without whom this would not be possible,” said Alexis Tsavoussis, founder of Mission: Educate Bahamas. Ms. Tsavoussis continued to thank Berkeley Preparatory School based in Tampa, Florida for its kind donation of library books. The Berkeley partnership created the desire to not only donate books, but to bring students to Nassau who would help complete the library project.
“We have really had amazing support for this concept,” said Berkeley administrator, Buck Johnson, who along with sophomore student Jack Harrison, led the Berkeley prep team coordinating the book drive which filled the library. The group digitally catalogued every book and traveled to Nassau to load the shelves and prepare the building for students.
Mission: Educate Bahamas has also equipped each computer terminal with the Tune Into Reading (TiR) program; an award-winning, internet-based teaching resource that uses musical exercises to improve literacy skills. TiR utilizes the science of melodic learning and is designed to help students of all ages and academic backgrounds build reading fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and word sight recognition skills. Noted Tsavoussis: “The program itself is revolutionary in technique. The kids have fun while using it and we have seen students who have improved their reading levels by a full grade after only 12 weeks of use. TiR is a real asset to the school’s new technology lab and we are excited to provide facilities that will give more students access to this ground-breaking tool.”
Founded in 2011, Mission: Educate Bahamas’ mandate is to help students in The Bahamas excel in academics and reach their true potential through increased education and literacy. Since its inception the local non-profit has impacted more than 1200 students in four government schools in both Nassau and the Family Islands. Starting with just three sponsors – Wendy’s, Marco’s and Popeyes – the organization has grown to include seven more corporate sponsors.
Said Chris Tsavoussis, president of Aetos Holdings, “It is estimated that more than 50 percent of our country’s students are leaving school with less than a primary school reading level. These statistics are shocking and we as corporate citizens have an obligation to help. This is why Wendy’s, Marco’s and Popeyes Bahamas continuously support programs and organizations like Mission: Educate Bahamas. While phenomenal work has been done with 1200 students around the country now having access to the Tune Into Reading, there are another 45,000 who need to be reached and it is our intention to assist Mission: Educate Bahamas in doing just that.”