After over 15 years without a suitable library, Campion College will begin construction on a US$700,000 (J$60.13million) project to build Jamaica’s first modern high school library media centre thanks to Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, OJ, and his family. The Stewarts have donated US$350,000 (J$30.06million) to the project which will be named in honour of Mr. Stewart’s late son, Jonathan, who graduated from Campion in 1983.
“It’s an honour for us to be associated with such an impressive project especially as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Sandals Group,” said Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, who spoke on behalf of his family at the Groundbreaking Ceremony held on Wednesday June 29. “Campion’s influence on Jamaica cannot be overstated, and we believe our partnership will further serve to enrich the education of generations of students, who are destined to become leaders in years to come.”
Chairman of the school’s capital campaign, Andrew Mahfood reported that over 450 students, alumni, parents and corporate friends had made donations and pledges of cash and services totaling US$740,000 in addition to the Stewart’s donation. “The Stewarts’ visionary gift to Campion has inspired many in our school community to demonstrate their own confidence in our school through tangible gifts and assistance with our Vision 2020 Campaign,” said Mr. Mahfood. “We are truly humbled by the response to the Campaign and especially grateful to the Hon Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and his family for this opportunity.”
In addition to the construction of the new library, Campion’s Vision 2020 Campaign set out to renovate the school’s science labs that have not been upgraded in 50 years. In January, the new DB&G Integrated Science Lab was opened and funding is in place to renovate two of three other labs at the school this summer. Principal Grace Baston commented that, “In only 50 years, Campion has been able to achieve great things and we give thanks for all our blessings including our strong Jesuit roots, many talented students, loyal and dedicated teachers, and a community of alumni and parents who believe in education’s ability to transform lives.”
Fourteen hundred students are currently enrolled at Campion. Approximately 35% of incoming students are from primary schools and, like those from preparatory schools, they are the top GSAT performers in the island. Campion has been awarded the Top CSEC & Top CAPE School trophies over a number of years based on its examination results and it continues to see improvements in these results on a year to year basis, particularly in the number of students receiving the highest grades in the island and in the region. Campionites have received numerous prestigious national and international scholarships over the years including 14 Rhodes scholarships (with 9 awardees, including the Caribbean Rhodes, in the last 8 years) and 5 out of 7 Jamaica Scholars in 2010.