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Governor Tours ACJHS Campus with PTA Officials

May 23, 2007 — At the invitation of the Parent-Teacher Association, Gov. John deJongh Jr. toured the campus of the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Tuesday to see some of the problem areas that have plagued the school for years.
DeJongh first met with PTA President Roy Benjamin, Vice-President Rochelle Todman, Treasurer Barbara Issac, Public Relations Officer Christina Jackson and ACJHS Principal Yvonne Pilgrim before touring the campus, according to a Government House news release. He went to get a first-hand look at the problems, which range from crowded classrooms to a lack of adequate lighting to the need for equipment and supplies.
“I got an opportunity to see the challenges that teachers and students go through everyday," deJongh said, according to the news release. "The school must be prioritized for significant work over the summer months. We saw the crumbling pathways, a way-undersized cafeteria — in short, a campus not given the attention it deserves."
DeJongh promised school administrators that he will have a serious discussion about the long-term goals for the schools, but promised that a short-term plan will be developed to create a more conducive learning environment.
Cancryn PTA officials outlined a long list of trouble spots that include broken walkways, a crumbling manhole just near the school’s entrance, the lack of a pedestrian exit from the campus, non-working light fixtures around the school that stymie nighttime activities on the campus and the need for additional tables and chairs in the school’s cafeteria. During a discussion on campus safety, the PTA officials asked for two school crossing guards to guide the more than 800 students who attend Cancryn across the busy roadways that intersect just outside the campus.
Other concerns centered on the need for physical-education facilities, which fall far short of adequate, the news release said. The school’s tennis court is undersized, there are no track-and-field facilities and no baseball-playing area despite the presence of a huge open space to the west of the school’s campus.
PTA officials asked deJongh to look into bringing Cancryn into some state of modernization as it serves as the school which receives hundreds of students from many elementary schools in the district.
The subject of relocating the school’s campus out of an expanding industrial zone was discussed, with both the PTA and the governor agreeing that wherever a new school is to be constructed, it must include an expanded campus complete with academic buildings, a cafeteria, an auditorium and sports facilities, the news release said.
“Until this relocation becomes a reality, we will ensure that the campus environment for the students, teachers and administrators is improved and becomes a much more enjoyable place to be for so many hours,” deJongh said.
DeJongh was accompanied on the campus tour by Government House Chief of Staff Louis Penn Sr., Policy Advisor Luis Sylvester and members of the governor’s communications staff.

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