Math teacher gets ‘energy’ to continue online classes amid COVID-19

MATHEMATICS teacher Richard James is today very thankful that he can resume his live online math practice classes with students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examanination (CAPE), thanks to support from liquefied natural gas (LNG) provider New Fortress Energy, through its foundation.

With schools closed as a result of COVID-19, a number of students have been left at a disadvantage because they’re unable to benefit from interactive teacher-student sessions for the more practical aspects of the subject, as in the case of students who are slated to sit the CSEC/CAPE exams this year.

Recognising this, James, who is from Montego Bay in St James and operates the online Math Resource programme, via YouTube with close to 600 subscribers, decided to upload mathematics resource papers to his YouTube channel, for free, to help students in their preparations while out of school.

James had postponed his online classes because of his inability to afford the monthly Internet fees, but when New Fortress Energy Foundation (NFEF) was informed about the challenges it immediately offered to cover the monthly Internet fees so that the math teacher could continue offering live online math sessions until the end of the school year in June 2020.

“Partnering with Richard was an easy decision because he’s genuinely passionate and proud to serve the students. It’s both encouraging and heart-warming. As we go through this global crisis we recognise that we all have to play our part to help protect the future of our nation’s next generation and it’s initiatives like the Richard James Online Math Programme that will help us to do this,” said Verona Carter, vice-president of public affairs at New Fortress Energy.

“At New Fortress Energy, giving back is ingrained in our DNA; we’re incredibly lucky to have as our CEO and Chairman Wes Edens, who is wholeheartedly committed to giving back to communities where we operate, helping them to have a better and brighter future. On behalf of the entire team I would like to congratulate Richard for the great job he’s doing and we look forward to the excellent math results.”

As part of the initiative, which is endorsed by NFEF’s long-standing partner — the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry — the energy company is covering the monthly Internet costs plus clearing all outstanding bills, totalling close to $500,000, to make the live online classes possible.

In response, James said: “My objective is to help cushion the shock in disruption of examination practice for students preparing for CAPE/CSEC exams while schools are closed. The live online classes, as you can imagine, are interactive and allow students to get their questions answered real time in order to get a clearer understanding of a particular problem. So, I’m extremely thankful to New Fortress Energy Foundation for reaching out to me and offering to pay the monthly Internet fees so that the live classes can continue online.”

President of the Montego Bay chamber Janet Silvera said that the initiative was commendable and hence the endorsement by her organisation. “We’ve partnered with New Fortress Energy through its foundation on several activities over the years that are geared at improving the lives of our nation’s children, such as their back-to-school programme and we’re very happy to be endorsing this initiative,” said Silvera.

“There’s no doubt that students will need all the help they can get at this time to stay on track and we commend both NFEF and Richard James for helping in this way,” added Silvera.

New Fortress Energy, which first started its operations in Jamaica with its state-of-the-art LNG terminal in Montego Bay, has continued to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education across the island through annual engineering scholarships and bursaries to university students through its foundation, as well as through STEM programme sponsorships including robotics through Halls of Learning and The University of The West Indies Junior and Senior Mathematical Olympiad.

To join the math session interested individuals are asked to visit Richard James Mathematics Resource at www.youtube.com.

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