The High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda visited Steyning Grammar School last week to thank boarding students for their fundraising efforts after the devastating Hurricane Irma.
Karen-Mae Hill met with 20 Caribbean students – boarding at Steyning Grammar School’s sixth form – on Wednesday, November 22, after their homes were destroyed in September’s hurricane.
Following the devastation, the students started out by attempting to raise a target of £5,000 to help fund the British Red Cross relief project.
They held an induction party for sixth form students, visited primary schools across the district and set up a JustGiving page which received donations from St Andrew and St Cuthman church, Upper Beeding Baptish Church and parents, students and alumni of Steyning Grammar as it went past the £5,000 target earlier this month.
On Wednesday, the students presented Ms Hill with a cheque for £5,286.50.
She then shared with students the scientific data linked to climate change thought to be insturmental in the unprecedented severity of the Caribbean hurricanes highlighting the impact on the infrastructure and economy on the islands.
Headteacher of the school Nick Wegan said: “At Steyning Grammar School, we have a long and proud association with the Caribbean Islands and have welcomed many students from there over the years.
“We have been inspired by the courage and resilience of our students during this difficult time and felt duty bound to support the relief effort to help rebuild their home communities.
“I am incredibly proud of our students and very grateful to the support of our widest community for our Caribbean Steyning family.”
Year 13 students Alex Hadeed and Arizona Hutchens were at home in Antigua when Irma struck and said they were not sure the exact course the hurricane would take until the last minute.
Other students, who had arrived in England only a few days before to embark on the academic year, said they feared for their families and loved ones when they were unable to make contact with them for several days.
The students are now preparing to return home to very different circumstances over the Christmas holidays.