Students Urged to Steer Clear of Violent Encounters


Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry Wilson has urged high school students to exercise greater self-discipline and steer clear of violent encounters, on and off their school compounds.
The Minister pointed out that an “excessive amount of time and money is spent on doing what we really should not be doing, and that is trying to cauterize the violence that seems to be afflicting our schools”.
Mrs. Henry Wilson was addressing students, parents and faculty of the Papine High School, at a prize-giving and awards ceremony held yesterday (March 31) at the school.
Observing that the Ministry’s funds were sometimes redirected to deal with the upsurge of violence in high schools, she told her teenaged audience that “when you look at what we [the Ministry] are spending on guidance and counselling and for new programmes, all of that could have gone into other activities which could have given you greater opportunities”.
The Minister said that while the Ministry was indeed the recipient of the largest allocation of the annual Budget, it was the inconsiderate nature of many and the growing disregard for human life that made the Ministry of National Security the second largest receiver.
“As a people we need to exercise the self discipline we should.and one of the things we are going to have to do is to find a way to be more tolerant towards each other, for us to speak with each other, rather than fight each other,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson told the students it was important “to find other ways to express ourselves, whether it’s through music or sports “.
“We must harness our energies productively and most of all, we must use the time at school for education,” she added.
The school’s Principal, Cynthia Peart informed that the ceremony was meant to “recognize achievement, excellence and service”.
In addition to awarding students who were the top three academic performers in every class of the school, students who performed well in their CXC examinations were also rewarded.
Mrs. Peart said that while the school, which has a population of more than 1,400 students, faced a number of challenges, including a shortage of classroom space and other infrastructure needs, “we have done much for ourselves”.
She noted that the school’s choir, with its enthusiastic Director, Leighton Jones, had created history for Papine High School.
“Last year, they entered the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Festival of Music and won nine medals. What is so amazing about this group is that with the shift system, they created the time and space for practice,” Mrs. Peart said.
She also noted that the Board Chairman, Carolyn Hayle was able to secure furniture for the staff and office from RBTT Bank and Assurance Brokers Limited, and that 20 computers were received from HEART Trust/NTA, which were placed in various departments.
The school’s past Board Chairman, Carlton Stephen and past Vice Chairman, Roy Barrett were also honoured at the ceremony.
The Papine High School will celebrate its 45th anniversary this month, having been founded on April 10, 1959.

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