Arrindell calling on youth to build a new St. Maarten

POSTED: 06/20/11 1:01 PM

GREAT BAY – The construction of a new St. Maarten and the need for the island’s youth to actively participate in that building project is the red line through speeches Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell has given at two graduations and an award ceremony this past week.

In a speech to school leavers from the Leonard Conner School she crafted an analogy of climbing a mango tree to get the sweetest, most golden mango as the mirror for daily efforts to be successful. The urging was to be the ones that climbed the tree, instead of those who stood watching the efforts, waiting for the fruit to be thrown to them or for it to fall into their hands.

“If you want that juicy mango, you will have to do something to get it: climb a tree, or throw some sticks at it. The mango for sure, is not going to fall in your hands just by looking at it,” she said.

Later she added, “Don’t look for the low-hanging mangoes; anyone can have them; even a goat can reach them. Seek for that bright yellow one at the top, shining like gold, very few people can get it. St. Martin needs you to do your best and be the best you can be in whatever you choose to do. St. Martin is counting on each and every one of you to continue to strive for excellence; to seek higher and higher standards, because as someone said, “success will not lower its standards to us; we have to raise our standards to attain success.”

Earlier in the week Arrindell told the graduating class at the Caribbean International Academy that while she’s not very good at giving advice, she’d simply urge them to keep trying.

“The truth of the matter is you have no choice but to try. That is what life is all about: trying. And it starts today with the decision you make to further your studies. Again, may I politely remind you that you have little choice but to continue your education. You just can’t stop now; the world we live in demands that you equip yourself with marketable skills that will allow you to face the challenges of life.

She also urged to stay connected and to take St. Maarten with them as they pursue their studies.

“Many of you would leave St. Martin in pursuit of this academic excellence. I want to appeal to you that you should never allow St. Martin to leave you. Take her with you wherever you go; fly her flag high; never forget nor forsake her; and return to her when you are ready, to care for her, to build her up, to claim her because she is yours, and to make her a better place for you and for me and for your children and children’s children,” Arrindell said.

In her speech at the Lions Club’s third annual Student Excellence Awards Ceremony Arrindell urged parents to move beyond providing technology and television as forms of entertainment and take a greater hand in raising their children. She stressed this against the backdrop of parents focusing on negative attitudes that have developed in some children, while ignoring the positive attitude others have.

“Each time we lambast our youth, I often wonder whose children they are and who was responsible for rearing them. It is therefore my humble submission that empowering our youth starts with empowering ourselves their parents,” Arrindell said.

Later she added, “In this new St. Martin we are building, positive must attract positive and positive must also overcome negative. What am I saying? I am saying that empowering our youth means we must seek out those of them who are doing positive things; recognize them as you are doing here today, so that we can hold them up as positive role models for their peers. Government alone cannot do it. We need everyone to get on board, just as you are doing here tonight.”


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