Students seek brighter future with PRE-USM program

POSTED: 11/10/14 12:41 AM

St. Maarten – “I think it’s the best idea. I have gained a lot of knowledge through the PRE-USM program,” said seventeen-year-old Valeska Celestine, a graduate of Milton Peters College PKL, who decided to enroll in the University of St. Martin’s PRE-USM program because she wanted a better future for herself. “For the past two months, I’ve learned how to structure my life in a positive and educational way.” The newly-established program bridges the gap for students who graduated from PSVE/VSBO stream secondary schools to enrolling at USM. It is a one-year preparatory program, which combines the GED curriculum with USM skills courses and an additional work experience component.

Through this program, Celestine, an aspiring marketing and communications specialist, hopes to better her chances of getting into a US college. The PRE-USM student already has some experience under belt: as part of her high school’s job training program, she interned at the marketing department of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE). With the PRE-USM program’s work experience component, she will further develop the skills already acquired at PJIAE.

“I like the way the lessons are being taught. The teachers take their time to explain the subject matter. They mentor us, the students, to succeed academically and mold us into college students. The instructors ensure that we get the best in everything educational,” explained Celestine. She went on to say that this program is helpful for high school students who have been educated in Dutch and wish to attend US colleges and universities, where the language of instruction is English. “With the PRE-USM program, we get classes, such as math, English, science, social studies and language and writing. They’re all taught in English, and the teachers push us.”

She believes this program is a step in the right direction to a better future: “The PRE-USM program is a great start. I’m enrolled and I’m seeing the beginning of a successful future. With this program, students will not only gain their GED diploma and skills certificate, but also a positive college attitude and self-respect.” She encouraged other high school graduates to enroll in the program as well.

Like Celestine, Winnie Thewet, a graduate of St. Maarten Academy PSVE, enrolled in the program because she, too, wanted a better future for herself. She feels that the program is not only a continuation of her high school education, but also an improvement from where she left off at PSVE. “I think the program is a good idea because St. Maarten needs more programs like this for its young people who have finished high school. They don’t have enough options. Most of them have to go away to study because there isn’t much here. It’s good for those who would like to stay on the island,” said sixteen-year-old Thewet. With an affinity for fashion and design, she hopes to become a business manager and own her own boutique.

“The program has taught me a lot that I never knew before. The teachers are nice. They’re very interactive, which is good because you learn more that way,” said Anique Brooks, 17, a graduate of Milton Peters College. Brooks hopes to pursue a degree in international business management in Toronto, Canada. The PRE-USM program, she pointed out, will help her achieve this goal: “I decided to enroll to higher my level of education so that I could get accepted into a college easier and start my college education.” She went on to say that this program will also benefit many young people who graduate from high school and are unable to get a job on the island because of their lack of work experience.

“I want to be an architect and computer repair technician,” said Chaquan Marlin. Initially, the sixteen-year-old Milton Peters graduate had planned to go to the US to further his education; however, because his high school diploma was not recognized by colleges in the US, he decided to first enroll in the PRES-USM program to earn his GED and then continue his educational career in the US. Like Valeska Celestine, Marline believes this program will benefit students who have been taught in Dutch and want to attend a US college. “It’s a great help if they want to go away to study in the States, especially when you came from a Dutch school and transfer over to English.” In the beginning, Marlin explained, it was a little difficult because he had previously learned everything in Dutch. However, he was determined to succeed: “I set my mind to ‘I came here to learn in English and that’s what I’m going to do,’ and because I set my mind to that, it is working out very well for me.”

“My hope is that these students will gain their associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s and come back to the island to contribute to society,” said Dean of Academics and Interim President of the University of St. Martin Dr. Francio Guadeloupe.

Did you like this? Share it:
Students seek brighter future with PRE-USM program by

Comments are closed.