Laveist and God’s Chosen kick off week of St. Maarten Day celebrations at Academy

POSTED: 11/8/11 6:19 PM

Laveist to donate 20 traditional wear to school

St. Maarten – National Alliance Member of Parliament Louie Laveist has urged students at the academic campus of St. Maarten Academy to embrace the history and culture of the island. His encouragement was delivered at Monday’s kickoff of the school’s St. Maarten Day celebrations. He also pledged to donate $3, 000 for the purchase of 20 pairs of traditional wear.
“Wear those outfits with pride,” Laveist said.
“It does not matter whether you were born here, or came from elsewhere. It is important that you understand what the day means as you have now made the island your home. Students should know the national symbols of the island and wear the national colors in celebration,” Laveist said.

The MP also read the words of the St. Martin Song and urged students to listen carefully, as the song has significance for the people of the island.
“Only frivolous people…narrow-minded people would have a problem with the words ‘donkeys, sheep, and goat’…or with ‘Columbus’,” the MP told the students referring to the current debate over whether or not to make the St. Martin Song the national anthem of the island.
Students also received a special treat from Benjamin Bell of God’s Chosen, who performed his yet-to-be-released song, “Beautiful Island”. Before they headed off to classes, Math teacher Olutunde Dalrymple entertained the gathering with folk songs as he played the Congo drum.
St. Maarten Day celebrations will continue at the Academy on Tuesday with class presentations by renowned writer Danielle Jeffrey, who will be speaking to pre-exam students about the history of the island from slavery onward; storyteller Papa Umpo; and poetry workshops by Lenworth Wilson.

On Wednesday, President of Parliament, Drs. Gracita Arrindell will speak to exam students about parliamentary procedures; Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Mr. Fabian Badejo will present what the new constitutional status means; and Lucinda Audain will give a poetry workshop.
The week of celebrations will culminate on Thursday with the annual Art and Artifacts Exhibition and a special show. The show’s line-up will include the Mighty Dow on the steel pans, Saxophonist Connis Vanterpool, Andre Patrick, the school’s Education Advisor Roberto Arrindell, and many talented students.
“We are using this opportunity to celebrate our achievements as a people living on one island and to further educate our students. It is all about cultivating a sense of nationalism in our young people as they showcase the ponum dance, sing local songs, and model traditional wear,” the school’s planning committee stated in a release.
The cultural celebration will begin after the first four periods. Students will have regular classes until that time. Students and teachers are being encouraged to dress in either traditional wear or red, white and blue apparel on that day.

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