Shell extends STEM Programme to St. Mary’s College

Within recent months, St. Mary’s College, one of the oldest secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago, has successfully completed the refurbishment of its three major Science labs - Biology, Chemistry and Physics. A few days ago, a Commissioning ceremony was held to officially mark the completion of the refurbishment programme and to say “Thank You” to the three sponsors.

The refurbishment programme commenced in 2018 and was completed late last year. A Labs Refurbishment Committee comprising members of the Past Students’ Union, teachers from the Science department of the College and representatives of the respective financiers of the refurbishment programme, together with CIC alumni who are highly experienced professionals in their respective fields, came together to plan and execute the programme.

Refurbishment of the two Biology labs was financed by Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited (Shell) as part of its national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Programme in support of Science education in this country. At the Commissioning ceremony, Mr. Leslie Bowrin, External Relations Advisor to Shell and the liaison between Shell and the Refurbishment committee, explained that Shell’s role in financing the work on the Biology labs is part of the company’s drive to encourage the holistic development of students. He went on to say that inculcating a passion and love for the Sciences among students is what under-pinned their decision to finance projects such as those being commissioned.

Principal of the College, Mr. Nigel Joseph, spoke on behalf of Dr. Wayne Frederick, a distinguished past student of St. Mary’s and now President of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in the USA. Dr. Frederick spearheaded a drive to raise funds to refurbish the two Physics labs, undertaking this role because, as he put it, his experience at St. Mary’s was second to none so he wanted to give back to his alma mater, hoping that other generations will do likewise.

Mr. Brevard Nelson, current President of the Past Students’ Union listed the several projects undertaken by the organization in recent years, amounting to over five million dollars within the past five years. Included in that list was the refurbishing of the College’s two Chemistry labs was the refurbishment and air-conditioning of the Centenary Hall that was completed in 1963, on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of this iconic institution. The source of the funds for these projects was the two major fund-raising activities hosted annually by the Past Students’ Union – Fete With The Saints and Dining With The Saints.

The refurbishment of each of the three labs cost in excess of one million dollars.

L-R: Mr. Brevard Nelson - President - Past Students' Union, Mr. Roberto Ramirez - Chairman - Lab Refurbishment Committee, Mr. Leslie Bowrin - External Relations Advisor - Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Mr. Nigel Joseph - Principal - St Mary's College