NCB CEO Bob Blake gives Ewarton Primary a New Year boost Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

As a youngster growing up in 1970s in Ewarton, St Catherine, Septimus ‘Bob’ Blake might not have even thought it possible that he could one day return and give something back to his primary school. But it turns out that time is the key, as the current CEO of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCB), chose to give Ewarton Primary School his $500,000 CEO’s Pick Grant from the N.C.B. Foundation’s Grant a Wish Programme. “The motto: ‘Not for school, but for the life we learn’ resonates with me even now as I practise life-long learning,” Blake reminisced.

“Ewarton Primary School was my foundation. The years there was magic, fostering my awe, curiosity, confidence, and courage to tackle any challenge. Those traits were developed there, with teachers who were just amazing. Although I was tiny, the teachers had great expectations, and they would tell me. Although I was materially poor, I did not know because they fed into me.” Hoping to help inspire some of the school’s pupils, Blake invited the school’s vice-principal, Camile Henson-Lake, along with head girl Aqualia Reid, head boy Shavon Kerr, David McLean and Tamelia Thompson to his office at the Atrium in Kingston.

Ewarton Primary School Head Boy Shavon Kerr (left) chats with alumnus National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited Chief Executive Officer Septimus ‘Bob’ Blake ahead of the surprise announcement of a donation of $500,000 to the school as part of Grant a Wish 2022 programme.

A very grateful Henson-Lake shared: “During COVID, we were besieged by termites, so we are experiencing a severe desk shortage. Although our parents have come out to help, this is an area of definite need. Also, we currently have a small play area, which needs improvement so that it can better serve the needs of the children, so this grant will surely help to address some of the issues we are faced with.” Henson-Lake went on to share that the school was among the top-performing primary institutions in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information’s Region Six and had over 800 students in attendance.

“In spite of the challenges, we still try our best with the children,” Henson-Lake emphasised. “When we think of these students, we want to have an impact. Our students should remember the extra effort that their teachers made. They are important as students in the classroom, so we must go the extra mile.”

Blake also left the students from his hometown with a timely reminder, as they shared that they were preparing to sit the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations in 2023: “Wherever you end up, you can blossom.”