Jamaica-born Canadians give back to Lottery Primary School


By Lincoln DePradine

Many Jamaica-born professionals now living in Canada, credit Lottery Primary School for giving them a head start with a solid early education.

Ettie Dawkins and Colin Miles

“Lottery Primary School was the start of my life,’’ says popular event planner Ettie Dawkins.

The school, located in Saint James Parish, was founded in 1904 by the Jamaica Baptist Union. On Sundays, when not in use by students and teachers, the then one-room structure is utilized for church services.

Colin Miles, a student at Lottery Primary School from 1960-1965, said the education he received there “tremendously’’ shaped his life.

Lottery Primary School

“It was fantastic,’’ said Miles, a salesman and an executive member of the 25-year-old Lottery Primary School Alumni Association in Toronto.

Last Sunday, at St Peter and St Paul Banquet Hall in Scarborough, the association hosted its 11th annual brunch and auction in support of Lottery Primary School.

“This is the number one source of income for them,’’ said Miles, explaining that Sunday’s fundraising goal was $5,000.

Altogether, according to Miles, the association has donated between $30,000 and $40,000 to Lottery Primary School.

The money has been applied to providing computers and other school supplies; funding the school’s breakfast program; refurbishing of a water tank; and upgrading of various parts of the Lottery Primary including its playground and toilet facilities.

“We saw the need and we decided to help them out,’’ said Miles.

He and other members of the Lottery Primary School Alumni Association travel to Jamaica every two years for a school reunion. They held a reunion this year.

“Lottery School set the standard for our education and thank God, most of us thrived and have done very well. And so, it’s time to give back,’’ said Dawkins, consultant at Ethereal Weddings & Events

The teaching instructions received at Lottery Primary “impacted my life immensely’’, said Dawkins, pointing to one of her former teachers who was attending the brunch and auction.

“It’s been a wonderful thing. We’re fortunate,’’ she said. “Those of us who have succeeded, it’s only the right thing to do, to give back. I’m so happy to be able to do it.’’