ADDRESS BY THE MOST HON. PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, ON, MP, PRIME MINISTER AT THE LAUNCH OF THE MARLIE HILL PRIMARY SCHOOL REFURBISHING PROJECT


My heart is full of joy as I greet you this afternoon, because this is a wonderful homecoming for me.
Being here in my old school brings back so many happy memories of my childhood, including my introduction to the world of books and learning.
I give thanks today for every teacher who taught me, guided me and laid the foundations for my development from carefree child to responsible citizen, with a heart for service.
I also want to thank every member of this community who participated in my upbringing.
In the days when I was growing up, everyone shared in the parenting of all the community’s children. Communities lived by the African principle: “it takes a village to raise a child!”
We gather on these school grounds today to build on the strong foundations laid by successive generations of teachers and students who worked and studied in this environment.
We are honouring their legacy. It is a legacy that helped prepare me to move from these humble classrooms at Marlie Hill to occupy the position that I hold today.
The journey from this school to Jamaica House is one that has inspired me to serve as a positive role model and example of the possibilities that life holds in store for every Jamaican girl and boy.
When I came to office, one of the things I emphasised was the need for partnership.
Since then I have devoted a great deal of time to building and strengthening partnerships here in Jamaica and also abroad, to tackle the challenges that confront us, as a people.
We are stronger and more equipped for success when we pool our knowledge, talent, skills, energy and experience.
For families, communities and nations, partnership is the surest way forward to real development, which is about empowering people to keep improving the quality of their life experience.
When communities, private sector, the state, non-profit organizations based here or overseas and committed individuals come together in partnership for this purpose, great things can be accomplished.
Today we are witnessing the positive outcomes produced by such a partnership.
The Metro-Manhattan Links, local private sector entities and committed individuals have come together to help refurbish this school, which has been the centre of learning for the children of this community for many, many years.
This reinforces a truth that I have always known: together, we can!
I am happy to see my old school, the Marlie Hill Primary School benefiting from so much care, compassion and concern, demonstrated by so many individuals, from home and abroad.
On behalf of the Government and all the beneficiaries, I say thanks to the Metro-Manhattan Links Incorporated, the Marlie Hill Primary School and all those, who in one way or other, contributed to the success of this project.
The whole physical environment of the school has been improved.
It makes such a difference when the surroundings are pleasant and comfortable. You feel better. You work harder. You achieve more,
My vision for all the children of Jamaica includes the best possible educational opportunities presented in a beautiful, positive, caring and supportive environment. Every child must be fed. Every child must be educated.
Students of Marlie Hill Primary, today I want you to remember always that you can achieve greatness.
Who would have thought a past student of Marlie Hill Primary School would rise up through the ranks to become prime minister?
I look at you, with your bright, smiling faces.
You are all beautiful and precious and I know that every single one of you can be successful. Every single one of you can grow up to achieve what you dream about achieving.
It depends on you. If you are willing to do the work, you can climb any mountain and cross any river.
I had to work and work very hard. I had to prepare myself to be able to take advantage of the opportunities when they came. You can do it too.
Do you want to know some of the secrets of being successful?
Train yourself to wake up early and get ready for school. Make it a habit.
Pay attention in class. Students who pay attention in class learn more.
Chatting to your friend, or thinking about what is for lunch, can wait until you get a break.
Follow the rules. This helps you to develop discipline and you will need to be disciplined if you plan to live a successful life.
Do your homework. Get into the habit of doing your homework. It will help you to learn and it will keep you interested in school work. When exam time comes around, you will be way ahead with your preparation.
Respect yourself and respect everyone, including your parents, the members of the community, your teachers, your friends – everyone. Be polite.
Talk out your differences. As the slogan goes, don’t fight it out, talk it out. Make sure you are always neat and clean and your books are neat and clean. And keep your school neat and clean.
I encourage you to do your best always. The possibilities for your success are limitless.
And I have a special word of appreciation for the principal, the teachers, board members, all those who work here – the entire school community.
Thank you for the valuable work that you are doing. It is interesting to consider that without teachers, civilization would come to a complete stop! Let us pause and show special appreciation to everyone who teaches.
Parents and guardians, I know that your intention is always to do the best for your children. May god strengthen you and give you the wisdom to make your families strong and to protect the rights and well-being of your children at all times.
As parents, guardians, educators and community members, we have to be resolute in working together as partners, to provide a stable, positive environment at home, at school and in the community.
This is an environment in which our children and youth will develop positive values and attitudes. By creating it, we tackle the problems of crime and violence and other social ills, at the root.
We nurture and prepare today’s children and youth to be the productive, successful workers and leaders of tomorrow.
This day is an important day in the life of our school. It marks a milestone along a historical journey which was started when our ancestors first set foot on these shores.
I hope that all of us – present and past students, friends, community, parents – everyone will play their part to preserve, nurture and sustain this project.
Let us ensure that many more generations to come will have the privilege of visiting and attending this very special school.
It is with humility, thankfulness and a deep sense of pride that I share this special moment with you and now officially launch this historic project. May it always remain a symbol of the triumphs, resilience and strength of the Jamaican people and the tremendous possibilities for conquering new horizons.
May god continue to bless this school, the people of Marlie hill, and Jamaica, land we all love so dearly.
Thank you.

JIS Social