PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Monday August 14, the school bells will be ringing, children will be walking to school, being dropped off by excited parents, and otherwise doing their usual, but it will be the dawning of a new day for many entering the school gates for the very first time. All across Soualiga, there will be children ready for the next step.
As the school year 2017-2018 commences, I would like to wish each and every student, teacher, parent, school management, and all who make school possible, a happy and productive 2017-2018. May your hard work bare fruition when the school year ends.
The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for the students, parents and teachers. Many students enjoyed the summer vacation, had fun at camps with friends and family but now is the time to have fun while learning. The new school year will bring new challenges, new experiences, and for students, you’ll be unlocking a new characteristic or trait you didn’t know existed last year and you’ll definitely learn new skills. You’ll be encountering new faces in the classroom both as teachers and fellow classmates; embrace these changes, and let the community of St. Maarten see the best you, you can be. For many, it will be a completely new experience, whether it be at a new school, a transition from elementary secondary school, or moving up a grade or form.
To those repeating this year, I would like to encourage you to not be discouraged. Utilize this stumbling block as your stepping stone to prove what you are made of. Do it this year better, stronger and show everyone what you are working with. For those who have been successful, and moving on, keep doing what you did right and improve on it. We must create an attitude of excellence in all of our schools. Parents should no longer wonder which school to place their child, as each school should be striving for excellence.
To the teachers, management and staff of our various schools, I would like to encourage you to utilize your roles, where you are given multiple opportunities to prepare students to be our future leaders and to use that influence you have for the good. Each child deserves a chance and we are aware of the challenges we face in our educational system, however, each day is a new day to make a difference. We do appreciate you as teachers, and we expect you to continue to put your best foot forward, as you make a difference for our youth and the future of St. Maarten.
To the parents, continue to push and prod your children in the right direction. Continue to motivate and encourage them to be the very best versions of themselves, in- and outside of the classroom. Parents, you can be the best examples for your children by modeling the type of behavior they can follow. We must not only say what we would like our children to do, but also do it as well. The relationship between parents and school is the most important for your child’s success. Make it your duty, as a parent or guardian, to visit and check in with your child’s teachers, student care coordinators and counselors to see how your child is progressing. Your child and the school will appreciate it, and your child will be the biggest winner. Together, we can make a difference, not just the students and the teachers, but parents, the community and Government alike. The Government of St. Maarten pledges to continue doing all we can to ensure the success of each child because we aim to have schools of excellence.
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world – Malala Yousafzai.”
As Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, I would like to wish all students, parents, management and staff, the best school year ever.
Happy new school year 2017-2018.