FOCUS, a non-profit educational enrichment programme geared towards public school students, recently hosted its 3rd annual open house.
Students join the programme in grade four and remain as FOCUS participants for nine years until they graduate from high school.
The name FOCUS – Forward and Onward to College. Upward to Success – embodies the programme’s goal to provide academic support to underprivileged students and prepare them to enter college upon graduation.
At the open house parents, donors, and friends of FOCUS experienced a FOCUS All School Rally.
The students begin each morning with the rally which aims to motivate them to strive towards achieving their goals. Guests attended a student panel where they heard first-hand about the experiences of FOCUS students.
Visitors got the opportunity to tour the various classrooms and view the students’ work.
Launched in 2011, FOCUS enrolment has grown from 30 to 118 students. The first cohort of students is entering their third year of the programme.
The value of the FOCUS project is evident in the eagerness and determination of each student to learn and succeed. Ja’tao Glinton, a 6th grade student at Oakes Field Primary School and 2nd year FOCUS student proudly declared: “I will be the first person in my family to go off to college. I want to be a role model for other people.”
RBC Royal Bank has supported FOCUS since its inception and is the first corporate sponsor of the programme.
Jan Knowles, RBC public relations manager, said: “RBC’s decision to sponsor the FOCUS programme was part of the bank’s commitment to youth development. The FOCUS programme complements similar RBC sponsored programmes aimed at helping young Bahamians develop adequate capacity for leading successful lives.”
The school year session runs on Saturdays from October to May. The curriculum’s focal point is the development of the whole child, encompassing social, physical, and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.
Extracurricular activities have included a visit to the National Art Gallery, salsa dancing classes, soccer, swimming lessons and chess.
During the summer FOCUS students participate in a six week action packed learning course.
To complement the programme’s project-based learning curriculum, summer students work on new concepts and special projects.
This year, the grade 5 and 6 classes are building models of how the city of Nassau will look in the year 2063.
The grade 7 classes are creating a documentary comparing the city of Nassau 40 years ago to the way it looks today.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald said: “The FOCUS programme is one of the most impactful in the country”.
FOCUS’ positive influence on the students, their parents and the community is evident.
Abagail Moss-Rolle, parent of FOCUS student Felicity Brown, praised the programme. Expressing her gratitude, she exclaimed: “It is a safe haven; she is not on the streets while I am at work.
“Through FOCUS the generational curse has been broken. She will go on to further her education at college.”