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2021 President’s Address

President’s Message
June 19, 2021

Please allow me to take a moment to thank the membership of the Cornwall College Old Boys Association – Mid Atlantic Inc., with entrusting me with leading the organization for the past three years. We have accomplished a lot together in a short time, but I believe the best is yet to come with the selection of our new leadership team.
In this our third year in existence, we should be proud of the progress the organization has made in its short tenure.

After beginning operations in 2018, our efforts began bearing fruit in April 2019, with the installation of a computer lab dedicated to the Technical Drawing program, for the facilitation of the AutoCAD software education of the students. AutoCAD is a commercial computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application.
To provide context to the impact of our donation. Here are some useful statistics to consider. In 2017, Cornwall College had a 70% pass rate at the CSEC level in Technical Drawing. Since the installation of the computers at the school. The pass rate at the CSEC level improved to 75% in 2019 and showed continued improvement in 2020 with an 80% pass rate. Please note the 2020 pass rate was achieved despite the beginning of the interruptions brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic.

In other words, the undertaking of the project has had a significant measurable positive impact.

Prior to and especially since this project, we have worked to collaborate with various year groups, on projects they themselves have undertaken.

One such collaboration began with Adrian Kerr, Class of 1985, who had been working to improve the IT infrastructure at Cornwall College. By joining the efforts and supporting that initiative that had also received support from our brothers in South Florida, our campus currently boasts having Wi-Fi access campus wide.

As a result of some forward thinking by our chapter, we were able to react quickly to provide equipment to replace damage IT equipment at the school likely as a result of a power surge. The replaced equipment ensured continuity and provided not only the solution to an immediate need, but also prepares us in the event of a future disaster event.

In August 2020 and again, only eight months later in April 2021, our chapter spearheaded a collaborative effort to load and ship a total of three containers of furniture and equipment to the school. These containers provided school desks and chairs, STEM equipment (including a digital microscope, and other apparatus for the science laboratories), IT equipment, multimedia equipment to facilitate the new blended learning format, PPE, Office desks with ergonomic chairs for the office and teachers, Lab tables and stools, cubicle system for the teachers, PBX phone system, miscellaneous equipment for the sports department, and other equipment needed at the school.
In addition, a forty-foot container was also donated to the school to provide a desperately needed storage solution to the school. We hope to add to that effort, however we are mindful of the disruption to the global supply chain. This disruption has resulted in the increased cost of shipping containers. Once the market has stabilized, we will resume our efforts.

The August 2020 Container effort was a result of the donations from the Archdiocese of Camden NJ and from The Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, MD. We mobilized our group and with the help from our brothers in NY, MD and VA and donations from South Florida, Canada and Atlanta chapters we were able to complete that project in three weeks.

A couple of months ago, Michael “Juba” Williams was instrumental in identifying and helping us to secure donations from Merit Medical. This initiative allowed us to secure the two full containers of furniture mentioned above for the school. Again, we were assisted by the chapters listed above, and joined by the New York and the UK chapters. As usual our brothers and sisters traveled from far and wide to assist in the physical work of completing the project.
Although the group effort was important to the completion of the project, I would like to take the opportunity to single out some individual contributions that deserve special mention. Thank you to Earl Findlater and Rose Anderson, who both traveled from Maryland prior to container loading to help is the staging of the containers. Mark Rhoden and Michael Williams who spent several afternoons at the facility and last but certainly not least Claude “Howie” Howard, who not only showed up everyday to stage the equipment and furniture, Howie also covered the cost of day of the day labor to assist in the preparatory work.

A major thank you goes to out donors. We received corporate and individual donations. Alumni donations spanned the Classes of 1959 to 2003. With one individual donor’s Cornwall College lineage originating from the Class of 1919.
We must extend a hearty thanks to the Montego Bay and Kingston chapters for the hard, on the ground work they completed and for their vote of confidence by choosing to support the initiative. Special thanks to Patrick Thompson, Steve Petgrave, Chris Earle, Barry Harvey and Richard Meggo for their support.

In the coming months, our chapter will be taking the necessary steps to complete the PBX project and the runway for the long/triple jump pit at the school. We will also assist in the installation of the cubicle system with the intent of completing the project in time for the next school term.

Today, in one of my final official acts as president, I accepted the transfer of a Cisco PBX license, donated by CCMP Capital Advisors, LP. We thank CCMP Capital Advisors LP for their donation. We must also thank Trevor Tomlinson and Adrian Kerr, for the extremely hard, behind the scenes work they have been doing, to get us to this point.
We have also begun discussions on fundraising efforts from our previous meeting and will continue the needed work to provide a workable framework to be presented to the Board at Cornwall College and to the Cornwall College Foundation.

We will also be completing our pledge to properly surface the Long/Triple jump runway with a safe and durable surface. The Sports Committee with Trevor Tomlinson as chair is overseeing that effort and we look forward to the results and the speedy completion of the project.

Additionally, the Class of ’85 has undertaken the herculean task of revamping not only the Arts program at the school, and the refurbishment of the Industrial Arts building. We were able to provide some support with the last shipment to the school. I encourage us to help in any way possible if asked to do so.

Let me close by saying, it has been an honor and a pleasure in serving in this role. The trust you placed in me to oversee this organization in its stage of infancy is one that few get to enjoy. Thanks to Michael “Juba” Williams for always being a willing ear and hand. He can be rest assured that I pledge to reciprocate during his tenure.

Financial report
2020
Total Financial Activity $31,328. This includes the value of furniture and STEM equipment donated in 2020.
Cash donations $7,250
Raffle sales: Net: $3,920

2021
YTD financial activity $44,430. This includes the value of furniture and Laboratory equipment donated in 2021.
GoFundMe $2,498
April 17 Container Project $16,300. Please not that although the total raised reflects in excess of $23,000. A large portion of the funds did not flow through our chapter and thus is not captured in this report.
Long/Triple Runway Project $550 (project total cost – $3,100)
Jersey sales – TBD – ongoing with inventory remaining.
Raffle ticket sales – TBD – ongoing

As we continue with our new leadership, let us all pledge to give support where needed, voice opinions respectfully and constructively and show all the strength of our team and our ability to “get things done”. While I have stepped down, I have not stepped away and will provide any assistance I can in all facets of our organization.
We look forward to future discussions and collaboration as we all work towards the improvement of the school’s infrastructure and the modernization of the facilities to meet today’s educational needs for our future Men of Might.

Neville Bell
Class of ‘86