Students get direct benefits from airport’s adoption

POSTED: 04/3/12 1:01 PM
Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company Regina Labega and the school manager at Prince Willem Alexander School Malva Brooks-Brill unveil a sign to commemorate the airport’s adoption of the school while Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Rhoda Arrrindell looks on. 

St. Maarten – The Princess Juliana International Airport began a two year (2012 – 2014) structured relationship with the Prince Willem Alexander School on Monday by giving the students goody bags and pencil cases and donating $2,500 to help with the construction of a playground. The request for the school to be adopted was submitted in September, 2010. Though it took some time for a reply to come the school’s manager Malva Brooks-Brill is pleased the airport “did not forget” them.
“This school caters to the needs of each individual child. This relationship will guarantee we can achieve,” Brooks-Brill said.
Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company Regina Labega, who met the request in process when she was appointed, decided to throw the airport’s full support behind the request after reviewing it. She also considers the new relationship more than just an adoption. The airport has already financed the installation of new air conditioning units for the school and financed decorations for Christmas in 2011. The new arrangement will allow the school to give the children annual checkups, help pay for glasses and counseling and also for a sort of boot camp where they can learn life skills.
“This has our unwavering support and we want a structural relationship beyond finances. PJIA will be there in whatever way possible,” Labega said.
Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sport Dr. Rhoda Arrrindell congratulated the airport for blazing a new trail of support for the island’s only school for children with special needs and learning disabilities. She also announced that the ministry’s work on revamping the education system includes placing more focus on special education.
“Education is everyone’s business and every child can learn,” the minister said.
Brooks-Brill took it a bit further and pointed out students at the school could grow into productive adults. This led to a public request for students to be allowed to visit the airport to learn about the career opportunities that are available.
In order to express their thanks the students gave Labega a commemorative plaque and gave Marketing Officer Daphne Illis a bouquet of paper mache flowers. Illis shared the flowers with the entire marketing department, which is led by Kalifa Hickinson. Labega,, Brooks-Brill and Arrindell also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

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