Education Minister Jacobs visits Tallahassee Universities

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TALLAHASSEE – Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs and her delegation met with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, City Manager Ricardo Fernandez, and Assistant City Manager Cynthia Barber of the City of Tallahassee. They had fruitful discussions on fostering new collaborations and exchanges between Tallahassee and St. Maarten in the areas of Culture, Sports, Education, Economic development and Infrastructure.

Minster Jacobs and her team then went to Florida A&M University (FAMU) and held meetings with Assistant Vice President Dr. William Hyndman III, Director of International Students Agnes Coppin, Provost and Vice President Academics Affairs Marcella David and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Nigel Edwards, to discuss challenges and the future of the agreement to facilitate St. Maarten students being able to study at FAMU and collaborations with the University of St. Martin (USM).

Next on the agenda was a visit to Lively Technical Center Campus (LTC) in hopes of gaining insight into programs and collaborations for Advanced Vocational Education here in St. Maarten, as well as giving students the opportunity to attend LTC. Discussions were held and there was a willingness on both sides to work together.

The delegation also visited one of the facilities falling under Recreation and Parks of (gymnastics and swimming), which is funded by the city. Minister Jacobs is interested in finding ways to get such facilities and opportunities available for St. Maarten communities, youth, adults and seniors.

The evening culminated at City Hall where Minister Jacobs met with many students, including board members of the St. Maarten/Tallahassee Student Association for discussions on the way forward in assisting St. Maarten with their students in Tallahassee. The Minister expressed gratitude to the city of Tallahassee, and the institutions which continue to collaborate with St. Maarten, to make it possible for St. Maarten students to study in Tallahassee. She also commended the students for passing at high levels, maintaining honors and successfully graduating.

On Thursday, May 26, the working visit continued, and Minister Jacobs and her team met with school officials of Tallahassee Community College (TCC), where many St. Maarten students attain an Associate’s degree before matriculation into FAMU, FSU and other colleges and universities.

The discussions continued with Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Sheri Rowland, International Services Coordinator Betty Jensen and her assistant Li Pon on coming to a new agreement amidst the many changes in how the students are able to benefit from the Sister City agreement with Tallahassee in attaining an education. Students have already started the Spring 2016 semester, volunteering 20 hours per semester to contribute to the development of TCC and the wider Tallahassee community.