EXUMA, BAHAMAS — Play time has a brand new meaning for students at Roker’s Point Primary School with the installation of brand new playground equipment from the Sandals Foundation.
Valued at approximately US $3,000, the project, which includes a three-seater swing set, slide and see-saw, was the winning submission from the foundation’s recent Team Member Support Project Initiative. The Initiative provides resort staff an opportunity to identify and meet a far-reaching need within their respective or surrounding communities in the areas of education, community development or environmental conservation.
The brand new playground was proposed by Sandals Emerald Bay Resort team member Bernette Nixon, who works in the Accounts Department. Despite the delay brought on by COVID-19, the Sandals Foundation was committed to implementing the project, which now kickstarts the execution of more than 16 winning submissions across the Caribbean.
“I’m feeling very excited and passionate, knowing that my project was selected,” said a beaming Nixon. “I am overjoyed that I am able to assist schools, communities and, most of all, the children of the island.”
Sharing the motivation that inspired her submission, Nixon said: “I have a passion for helping and I know most children do not have a yard or a playground to play in. The idea of just being able to see the smile on the children’s faces is what made me apply for a playground for them.”
Sandals Foundation Operations Director Karen Zacca was proud to see the completion of the project, which replaces the school’s 16-year-old equipment.
“We are extremely happy with the fortuitous timing of the project’s completion, welcoming students as they return to school. Now they will be able to play in a safer space,” she said.
Roker’s Primary School Principal Vanessa Penn said the new play equipment has already been integrated into lessons.
“The addition of a see-saw is not only a bonus to the students but also to our teachers, who quickly connected it to a lesson on simple machines. This play equipment will further increase social skills — mainly communicating and sharing.”
Penn expressed appreciation “to Miss Bernette Nixon for presenting the project to the Sandals Foundation and to the Foundation for making it a reality”.
And for District Superintendent for the Exuma cays & Ragged Island Pamela Gorte: “It is a wonderful and much-needed equipment to encourage students to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. The Ministry of Education is most grateful to team Sandals for once again stepping up and being the most awesome partner in education.”
The Sandals Foundation and Sandals Emerald Bay resort teams have been longstanding partners of Exuma’s education and community development. Since the inception of the Team Member Support Project Initiative in 2014, projects have included support to various schools and youth sports programs.