New Winthorpes Primary School Wins Literacy Prize

New Winthorpes Primary School
Wins Literacy Prize
U. S. $1,000 Award for Excellence in Advancing Child Literacy

Online PR News – 24-April-2014 – St. John's, Antigua – New Winthorpes Primary School Wins Literacy Prize - U. S. $1,000 Award for Excellence in Advancing Child Literacy

New Winthorpes Primary School has been awarded the 2013/2014 Hands Across the Sea Literacy Award for Antigua.

The principal, teachers, and children at the school have enthusiastically embraced Hands Across the Sea’s CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) program, which has shipped 13,800 new and near-new books to 22 Antiguan schools or literacy programs since 2010, serving 7,600 children. The 2013/2014 Hands Literacy Award for Antigua ( comes with U.S. $1,000 in brand new books or other literacy assistance for New Winthorpes Primary School.

Hands Across the Sea’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Harriet Linskey said, “There is no doubt that great new books and a vibrant borrowing library create a community of student readers, and by making the most of a small space, New Winthorpes Primary School is demonstrating a passionate commitment to child literacy.”

Over the past two years the school has received 650 great new books, thanks to Hands Across the Sea’s 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 Hands Wish Lists shipments. Though the school does not have space for a library, back in 2012 Grade 6 teacher Ms. Anthea Anthony and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Norma-Jean Arey demonstrated outstanding creativity by transforming the small space of the school’s pump room into a library with well-organized shelving, new paint, and literacy-themed murals inside the room and on the door. The library, now in the care of Grade 5 and 6 maths and science teacher Mrs. Michiyo Robinson, is a fully functioning borrowing library. “Hands Across the Sea has sent a good mix of fact books and storybooks for our students,” says Robinson. “We know that winning this award will further benefit our students.”

Hands Across the Sea partners with the Mill Reef Fund, which has supported the following schools with new books from the Hands 2013/2014 Hands Wish Lists shipment: All Saints Secondary, Antigua Girls High School, Cedar Grove Primary School, Clare Hall Secondary School, Irene B. Williams Secondary School, Old Road Primary School, Project Hope, St. John’s Catholic Primary School, and Villa Primary School. Mill Reef Fund trustee Ann Dalby noted, “Mill Reef Fund is happy to extend our support of child literacy in Antigua by partnering with Hands Across the Sea for the third year in a row. We believe strongly that literacy is fundamental to every child’s education.”

Hands Across the Sea also partnered with these organizations to assist other schools on Antigua: the U. S. Embassy, Barbados for Jennings Secondary School); Scotiabank’s Bright Future Program ( for Mary E. Piggot Primary School, Fast Cash ( for Ottos Comprehensive Secondary School, and the Sandals Foundation ( for Willikies Primary School and Cedar Grove Primary School. Hands also works closely with the Antigua Ministry of Education.

Since starting the organization in 2007, Hands Across the Sea’s Co-Founders, Harriet and Tom Linskey, have been dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children, from pre-school to secondary school, through their Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) program, which has shipped over 143,000 new and near-new books to Anguilla, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. The CLASS program, in concert with each school year’s Hands Wish Lists (school principals, teachers, students, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers tell Hands which books they need), works in three ways: 1. Send Great New Books; 2. Create Borrowing Libraries (usually a school library); and 3. Foster Sustainability of the library through support at the school and from the local community.

Literacy opens the door to a better life. That's why Hands Across the Sea celebrates Eastern Caribbean schools, libraries, reading programs, and after-school youth centers that are leading the way in advancing child literacy. Our annual Hands Literacy Award rewards these top performers with Caribbean-wide recognition and $1,000 in brand new books or other literacy assistance materials. We believe in supporting their progress in the years ahead — and we believe in encouraging more schools and community groups to follow their example. We choose Hands Literacy Award winners on the basis of creation and sustainability of a vibrant borrowing library; a passionate commitment to literacy by staff; "ownership" of the library by young people (such as student librarians); literacy-focused programs such as remedial reading programs, book clubs, and poetry and writing groups; library infrastructure and book-lending improvements; strong and sustained involvement in child literacy and the library by community members.

New Winthorpes Primary School
Small Space. Big Impact.
Hands Across the Sea has helped over 200 primary and secondary schools create or rejuvenate their libraries, and every time an administrator says that their school wants a library but doesn’t have space for one, we say two words: “New Winthropes.” Then we tell them about the library and literacy success story at New Winthorpes Primary School, because not only has Principal Whitfield Browne and his school staff made literacy a priority they have created a borrowing library in a space so small that few would consider it: the school’s pump room. Working together, Grade 6 teacher Ms. Anthea Anthony and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Norma-Jean Arey turned the pump room, which is about the size of a storage closet, into a sunny, child-friendly space where students can browse and borrow their favorite book. Anthony and Arey asked Hands for new books for the library, and thus far the school has received 650 great new books, thanks to Hands Across the Sea’s 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 Hands Wish Lists shipments.
The result of the new library and new books has been dramatic. Grade 5/6 maths and science teacher Mrs. Michiyo Robinson is now in charge of the library and reports that the boys, who at most schools are less interested than the girls in reading books, are excited about the graphic novels and “fact books” about animals, cars, computers, and robots. Friday is the official library day at the school (children are allowed to borrow three books at a time), and students can pass by the library and borrow books at other times, too. The library at New Winthorpes Primary School proves that the most important requirement for a library is not space, but passion on the part of the Principal and the staff.
ANTIGUA Honorable Mentions: Five Islands Primary School • Irene B. Williams School • Kids’ Unlimited • Old Road Primary School • Project Hope • St. John’s Lutheran School • St. Mary’s Secondary School • Willikies Primary School

For further information about Hands Across the Sea or the Hands Literacy Award, please telephone Harriet on local number 268 770 0108 or +1 617 320 3601, e-mail Harriet at or Tom at or Colin at
Hands home page

Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) Program
2013/2014 Hands Literacy Award for Antigua

2013/2014 Hands Wish Lists (Antigua only)
2012/2013 Hands Wish Lists

2013/2013 Hands Literacy Award for Antigua

Contact Information
Harriet Linskey
Hands Across the Sea