Minister Jacobs: Give a helping hand

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports Affairs Silveria Jacobs


PHILIPSBURG – In Wednesday’s, March 8, Council of Minister’s Press Briefing Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Silveria Jacobs updated on the following:

This weekend the SXM DOET will be happening all over the Dutch Kingdom. She commended the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School management and staff for initiating the painting of their school, as well as their benches.

As a result of the initiative of the Ministry, three public schools will have murals done. They are: Leonald Conner, Ruby Labega and Marie Genevieve de Weever schools. “We will be aiming of course to do more within the year by the other schools, as it serves to highlight positivity, and using art to encourage the rest of the school on a daily basis, as well as a staff and parents to live in unity with each other, to live with tolerance and peace,” the Minister said.

She also mentioned that the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) is also carrying out a new project in terms of agriculture. “Many schools and afterschool programs are doing that so we’re seeing a great surge where agriculture is concerned, and so I encourage all volunteers to go out there in numbers. If you have not registered yet, go online, look for those great initiatives that have been put out there, and give a helping hand, and besides doing that on March 11 and 12, I look forward to that spirit of volunteerism going on throughout the year, not only during the SXM DOET,” she stated.

“I will personally be making the rounds of all our schools that are busy and will end at Marie Genevieve where I will hopefully be able to lend my hand in beautifying that wall and contributing also,” she continued.

In a culture update, she mentioned the Arrowroot jollification that took place in Colombier the Saturday before. “I was very proud to attend as a guest …They had a wonderful arrowroot jollification last Saturday where together with the community of Colombier, as well as many visitors, including tourists, we were able to celebrate the making of arrowroot in the old way,” the Minister said.

“This association continues to work throughout the year to promote culture and nature, and so we know that area of the country is very fertile, but we have many such also on the Dutch side, and it coincides with our initiative over here to get more agriculture in the schools. We’re currently working on a curriculum to actually do that in a formal way, even whilst we have Mr. Joslyn Richardson who is working with some of the schools already in terms of getting gardens planted so that definitely fits within our vision here,” Minister Jacobs explained.

In the area of sports, on Sunday, March 12, the under-13 selection of the National Soccer Team will be travelling to Aruba to take part in a soccer tournament, which will feature all the Dutch Caribbean islands, Aruba Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Maarten as well as Colombia and Venezuela. The Minister wished them much success in their endeavors.

“This is their second time attending this event and we’re proud to be able to send out a team from the National under-13 young boys,” she said.

Last Saturday was the opening of the St. Maarten Little League Association competition. Their regular competition caters to 4-17 years old, and she was very impressed with the turnout of the many teams, and of several parents and volunteers.

The Minister also highlighted that for the very first time, there were female teams. “We’re seeing a surge now in girls playing, not only on the boys’ teams, but there are three full-fledged softball girls teams as well, so I encourage the population and especially the parents, guardians, and family members of these children to go out there and support them,” the Minister stated.

In other updates, electrical upgrades took place at Leonald Conner School, and the Minister had a walk through last Friday at the school. “The electrical upgrade (is completed) however, some small maintenance should be finalized before the school can move in, and we’ll be able to update you on that as soon as that is completed.”

She also thanked GEBE, for their contribution and “once the other small maintenance is taken care of, I’m hoping that sooner rather than later, the school can be back in its home space,” she said. “I’m very demanding in trying to make sure that our students, teachers, management and staff can work in a safe environment,” Minister Jacobs concluded.