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RBC helps students to shoot ahead with Arrow

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Two young scholars from St Phillip’s Government Primary School receive tokens presented on behalf of the RBC Royal Bank Education Foundation from Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed, left, and Anna-Maria Kurbanali.

A renewed passion for learning has been infused into 20 students from St Phillip’s Government Primary School, Old St Joseph Road, Laventille, who celebrated their successful completion of the Arrow training programme with a graduation ceremony held at their school on Tuesday.

According to Standard Five student Kadisha Williams, who delivered a moving valedictory speech, taking part in the training was a really wonderful experience. 

“I enjoyed using the computer and hearing my own voice to learn. The Arrow programme was fun and interactive and the tutors and teachers really helped us. I am grateful to RBC and Arrow for giving us this chance to learn and improve. I feel more confident that when I write SEA this year, I will pass for my first choice. I wish that every child who needs an extra boost could get to use the Arrow programme,” said an ecstatic Kadisha.

Developed over 40 years ago in the United Kingdom by Dr Colin Lane, Arrow stands for Aural – Read – Respond – Oral – Write. The programme focuses on remedial work in reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills and assists students who experience academic challenges by transforming their entire approach to learning. 

The St Phillip’s intervention was made possible through a partnership between the local arm of the Arrow Foundation and sponsors RBC Royal Bank through its Education Foundation.

Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed, area vice-president, RBC Royal Bank and alternate chair of the RBC Education Foundation, explained the support for this initiative: “RBC Royal Bank has a long tradition of youth development and our Foundation itself has existed since 1977. Although we are known as a leading financial organisation, we also invest in building capacity and capability in our young people, and this programme achieves those objectives. 

“That is why we are proud of the achievements of these students and we are committed to funding the next phase at St Phillip’s. It’s all about young people achieving their full potential and we see it as doing our part to build strong people, strong communities and a stronger nation.”

The success of these young people at St Phillip’s adds to the 3,000 students from over 100 schools across T&T who have benefitted from the training since 2004, when Christopher Bonterre founded the local chapter of the not-for-profit Arrow Foundation.

“This training represents a transformative movement in education that complements traditional teaching methods. These students have experienced dramatic improvements in terms of their reading and spelling ages, and the light of their proud smiles is the greatest reward we could ever receive. As their teachers and principal have related here today, apart from the academic improvement, we can see a marked transformation in their self-confidence and overall attitudes. 

“We really have to thank the RBC Royal Bank Education Foundation for sharing our vision and giving these kids a life-changing opportunity,” Bonterre stressed.

The next phase of the RBC Royal Bank-sponsored training at St Phillip’s Government Primary School will involve the training of teachers at the school to become Arrow tutors. Through this mechanism, the benefits of the Arrow programme will be available to all of the students of the school with continued support and monitoring from the Arrow Foundation.

St Phillip’s acting principal Helen John, who has spent 19 of her 21 years as a teacher at the school, explained the real benefits of the training: “Because of their low confidence, students were hesitant to read and this was a huge stumbling block to their progress. Following this training, they have such a boost in skills and self-esteem and they have transformed their entire attitude towards learning. We have seen improvement in every subject area and, as well as their deportment and discipline. 

“We’re thankful to RBC Royal Bank for making this possible and to the Arrow Foundation for their dedication to helping these wonderful kids. As a result of the training, these students will be shooting ahead towards success,” she said.