December 12 was another big day for the Every Child Counts School with the opening of its Gift Shop – just in time for Christmas. Whilst it was an exciting day for all of the students, it was especially so for Principal Lyn Major. Having a gift shop at the school had been a part of Mrs. Major’s dream since she first established the school many years ago.
Part of her plan for the school had always been to provide a way for students to be able to use their talents to help make a way for themselves in the world after leaving school while also providing some much-needed funds for the school.
The first step towards this was the establishment of the Business Centre which manufactures soaps and puts together utensil packs. Now that the Gift Shop has come to fruition, Mrs. Major stated; “It is a wonderful day to see the students’ work on sales in the shop. This provides an opportunity for them to use their talents in a tangible way and the money raised will help provide funds to help offset costs of school fees of parents who are unable to pay.”
Helping Mrs. Major to make her dream a reality is Keisha Johnson who joined the staff in September as Business Coordinator for the Training Centre. Her job has also been to organize the setting up of the gift shop and she will be in charge of the organization and running of it on a daily basis. She asked the art teacher, Nicole de Nardin, to instead of having the students paint on paper, to paint on objects which could be sold. Through the inspiration of the art teacher and the talents of the students some excellent articles are being produced.
The shop will be open during school hours (Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm). It is hoped later to also be open on Saturday afternoons.
The shop is located in the front of the Training Centre building which is located right at the front of the school next to the car park opposite the old Batelco building. The room that the gift shop now occupies used to be the tuck shop.
The school runs on a very tight budget and so ways are always being found to do things as economically as possible. Ms. Johnson is very proud to have renovated and outfitted the gift shop for a mere $86. She found an old showcase which she cleverly renovated and Mr. Ron, a boater volunteer, helped build shelves out of old pallets. The computer was also found upstairs and the printer was donated by ITC Marsh Harbour who also donated all of the software and labour and some of the hardware.
Leonardo Lowe, a grade 11 student, received high praise from Ms. Johnson. “He has been my number one, assisting with all the setting up even as far as to cleaning the windows,” she stated. “He will be in charge of the accounting and was chosen because he is good at maths and has good accounting skills. This will be good training for him as his dream is to one day own a hardware store.” Leonardo efficiently handled the computer during sales on opening day, a job he will continue to do each day.
The ECC gift shop is an excellent place in which to buy gifts for others or for one’s own personal use all year long. A wide variety of items is on sale including some unusual aprons cleverly made from men’s shirts, coasters painted with designs by the students, attractive tote bags made from plastic thank you bags by students in the sewing class, earrings, bracelets, Christmas garlands, soap sets, and very attractive tables and wine racks made from wood pallets and beautifully painted by the students.
Refreshments were provided in the art room next door to the gift shop where patrons were able to view more of the students’ amazing creations in progress.