PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport Silveria Jacobs addressed members of the media in Wednesday’s, July 5, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.
She first congratulated those students “who are out there doing great things as I believe they deserve the spotlight more so than any.”
In the area of Sports, two recent top graduates in FBE were part of a team that travelled along with Coach Abdul Wathey, who is a president of the Dynamics Club and with support staff of about 18 Dynamic Club athletes, to the 25th annual Track and Field Invitational meet in Curaçao. They will be competing in the meet, which takes place July 4-11.
“This is seen as a stepping stone event for many of the younger athletes, giving them an opportunity to participate in a regional event,” Minister Jacobs said. She also mentioned youngsters traveling to St. Lucia Creole boxing tournament, and was made aware that the Little League Association took a team to Antigua. “So, I wish all these young athletes, as they start their summer vacation, much success, and continue to represent themselves in St. Maarten in positive ways,” the Minister stated.
From the Culture Department, “it has been brought to the attention of the department that flags have been disappearing from our border points. The St. Maarten flag in particular. They noted that this had been the second or third time in the past month that they had to replace that flag, as well as the one at the Cole Bay Bellevue monument.”
The Minister asked the general public to be vigilant, and report if they notice someone removing these flags, “and I’m asking those people who are doing that, to cease and desist from doing so, because the flag is a symbol of our heritage, our Country. It is a matter of pride and you should not be removing flags from those locations. If you have noticed that the flag is not in a good condition you need to report it to the Culture Department and we will have it removed.”
From the Division of Exams, on Monday, July 3, the government of St. Maarten held an awards ceremony for the top Foundation Based Exit Exams performers nationwide, as well as for the top graduates per school. This was held in new government building in a ceremony prepared by the cabinet. “We as a Ministry ensured that the tradition of honoring the top elementary school students continued. This has been something that’s been going on for quite a while. The students were invited to the ceremony together with their parents and a school representative where they were either nominated for the overall nationwide top students or top students in a subject. The five top students of the island received HP laptops each, while others in the top for subject as well as in valedictorians per school received Samsung tablets or a gift voucher from either Office World, Blue Point or Van Dorp for school supplies. I would like to thank the community-minded business people, who contributed because in having to purchase that amount we had to ask for the best price, so thank you for giving us the lowest price possible to be able to award the students for their great achievements,” Minister Jacobs stated.
“As we have come to the end of our school year, I would like to encourage students to continue to learn. School is out, but you can never stop learning. You don’t have to be in the four walls of your classroom or in the gates of your school to learn. Make use of the time to read books that you love, visit the library that does not close, attend summer camps, if at all possible. Keep positively busy, do not get comfortable and so relaxed that you forget everything you’ve learned in the past year. Continue retaining and observing information,” the Minister encouraged.
“To parents, I encourage you to make sure that your child is properly supervised during the summer break, and that you are not letting this time pass without getting the most out of it for them. There are various programs and summer camps going on around island. There is even one offered by the Ministry of VSA, which you can register your child for, so that they can continue to learn and have fun throughout the summer,” the Minister informed.
“This is also a time, sad to say, when statistically more unwanted behaviors lead towards pregnancies, and so I don’t want to mince words with the parents. Know where your children are, have open discussions about what this type of behavior can bring to their lives. Early sexual behavior can only bring problems to young people, so I’m asking the parents to have open discussions and preventative talks to avoid their children losing time in their education, and disrupting the possibility for them to achieve their highest potential,” Minister Jacobs advised.