The ceremony, that also marked the second anniversary of Hurricane Irma, was an official handover and thanksgiving service for the L-shaped Building at ESHS and was attended by BVI Premier; Andrew Fahie and his cabinet, including the Minister of Education Natalio Wheatley.
Following the devastation caused to the BVI by Irma in 2017, Appleby joined the Alliance of BVI Professional Services Businesses, an association of legal and professional services firms committed to rebuilding the BVI. In the months that followed the Alliance, comprised of 19 professional services firms, announced an initial joint donation of USD100,000 to support humanitarian relief work in the BVI and to restore the Islands to their former state. A year on from Irma the Alliance agreed with the BVI Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) that approximately USD20,000 remaining from the donation should be used for an education project on the Island.
The passage of Irma damaged numerous public schools and destroyed ESHS, Tortola’s main high school, impacting the secondary education of 1,600 children. For the two years following the hurricane the school was relocated to temporary facilities, where due to a lack of space, a shift system was implemented with students attending either morning or afternoon lessons. Alongside the Government implemented renovations to the main L-shaped building at ESHS, the donation from the Alliance together with those received from other organisations and businesses, has gone towards additional rehabilitation work at ESHS, including the creation of a new pre-fabricated modular classroom. Whilst it will take a number of years to completely rebuild the high school the pre-fabricated classroom will provide semi-permanent facility additional to the main L-shaped building.
In the week following the ceremony students entering grades 7- 9 returned to the newly rehabilitated buildings at ESHS for the first time in two years and all students in the Islands have also now returned to full day classes. Premier Andrew Fahie commented that he is elated to see the day come to fruition and thanked local contractors for making the occasion a reality.