Third generation Oranje School student tops class of 25

POSTED: 06/28/11 12:24 PM

St. Maarten – The Oranje School, which is presently celebrating its 160th year, held its annual graduation ceremony at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort on Thursday 23rd June under the theme “Going the distance – Following our dream” with a total of twenty-five graduates. School manager Kay Linda Philips proudly welcomed the Governor and First Lady.

“I am especially proud to welcome His Excellency and the First Lady who have both been graduates of the Oranje School,” Philips said.

She further went on to encourage the graduates with the hope that that would inspire them to pursue academic excellence, to become productive citizens, successful teachers, lawyers, carpenters, electricians or even one day to serve in the capacity of Governor of St. Maarten.  She encouraged them to go the distance, to continue until they have successfully completed their educational journey no matter how difficult.  She further admonished the parents to help their children develop their potential.

The highlight of the nearly two hour ceremony was the presence of his Excellency drs. Eugene Holiday and the First Lady Marie Lousie Holiday-Hazel. As the key note speaker, Hazel stressed four main points to the school leavers.  She emphasized that they should aim for an education by being the best. She also pointed out that there will be a lot of changes from elementary to secondary and urged them to keep in mind that it is only through education they will achieve.  Secondly she urged them to never give up on their dreams.

“Don’t ever tell yourself or let anyone tell you that you can’t. Keep in mind the slogan of President Obama-Yes, We can. Thirdly, work hard. There will be challenges but know that only hard work will bring success and I urge you to keep the name of the Oranje School high.  As a proud past student, I want to know that the flag of the Oranje School continues to fly high,” the First Lady said.

Inspector of Education Pricilla Bell was also in attendance. Acting Director of Public Education, Glenderlin Davis-Holiday, who is travelling, sent a congratulatory message to the school leavers.

The valedictorian was 12 year old Tenia Arrindell. Arrindell, who is humble, caring and eager to learn excelled as the top student for all three exams she wrote – Coordinated Exams, St Dominic and St. Maarten Academy – chose to attend HAVO because she sees the importance of receiving her subjects in Dutch.

“We need Dutch,” she said simply.

Arrindell firmly believes in being your own leader, something that was instilled into her by her mother Olga Arrindell. In an emotional speech she reminded her peers that they were a part of the school’s history.  She also admonished them that while planning their future they should set goals, figure out ways to achieve them and try hard to fulfill their dreams.

“If you do not like the path your life has taken thus far, if it does not make you happy, re-route yourself, blaze your own trails if it is needed.”

Arrindell also shared the motivational poem “Start where you Stand” in order to stress the importance of looking ahead.  To coincide with the theme, which was put together by the school leavers, they also chose the “Optimist Creed” and songs “Follow your Dream and Half-way There.”

Students received awards for outstanding work in all subject areas as well as for Best Behaved, Most Improved and Most Helpful.  These were made possible through the kind contribution of several businesses and individuals.

The school wishes to give special thanks to Mrs. Sylvia Meyers (MP), Mr. Janchi Leonard (MP), The Learning Center, Van Dorp Edine, Blue Point and The Big D’ s Photo Studio for their contributions to the graduation.

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