New Dinthill gym named in honour of Linval Freeman

The new $1.5-million gym opened at the Dinthill Technical High School, St Catherine, has been named in honour of past president and longest-serving member of the school’s past students’ association, Linval Freeman.

At a recent official unveiling of The Linval Freeman Sports Gym, current president of the Dinthill Past Students’Association, Donovan Betancourt, said it was a unanimous decision to honour Freeman, who has been the most outstanding president of the association over the past 20 years.

“He has been a stalwart over the decades and even in his retirement he continues to support the association in the various projects to benefit the students and the school,” said Betancourt.

In his response to the gesture, Freeman said: “I humbly accept this honour bestowed upon me by the past students’ association in recognition of my many years of service to the association and the school. I will continue to serve and give my support for as long as I can.”

Having led the past students’ association from 1991 to 1996, in his last year as president, Freeman — working in collaboration with the Toronto Chapter of the association —formed the Dinthill Trust Fund to raise funds to benefit the students, teachers and school.

Since then the trust fund has disbursed significant sums to assist in the acquisition of a school bus; to fund agricultural projects, to help with the upgrade and maintenance of the school property and by providing scholarships to many needy students

According to Betancourt, the gym is a modular type which is currently equipped with massage tables, bench presses, weights, recovery bath and exercise bicycle. But he said there are plans to add to the space so that more students can participate in a wider variety of exercises at any one time.

In addition to the gym, the past students association donated 89 tablets to students during the COVID-19 at a cost of $900,000, inclusive of the cost of the device, data credit and SIM card for each. “The data plan will cover three months initially and was achieved through partnerships with the private sector, NGOs and past students,” Betancourt said.

He also noted that the Dinthill Technical High School Past Students’ Association raised $1 million during a virtual Medathon in July this year, hosted by Oliver Samuels and Joylene Griffiths, both of whom are past students. Entertainment was provided by Gem Myers, a past student and Karen Smith. “The money raised will go towards welfare programmes and an upcoming project to improve the ICT infrastructure at the school,” Betancourt said.

At the unveiling ceremony, the school’s acting principal, Christopher Patterson, expressed appreciation to the past students’ association for the gift of the gym, which, he said, will help teachers and students to keep healthy, especially during the pandemic.

“Thanks also for your tremendous support and I hope this partnership will continue to the benefit of our school,” he said.