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Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has called on society to celebrate and reward the achievements of young people, as a means of reinforcing positive values and encouraging excellence among the youth.
“Find more ways to encourage our children and young people, who are making a strong effort, doing their best to succeed, in spite of difficult circumstances and in spite of the many temptations they face daily. This is the way to build confidence and spur achievers on to be more and do more,” she stated.
The Prime Minister, who was addressing the St. Andrew High School for Girls’ Teachers Day luncheon held yesterday (May 9) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, said that recognizing and celebrating effort and excellence, “would serve to strengthen those who are tempted to veer from the path of self-development”.
“We need to reassure them of their own strengths and abilities and hold up before them, a range of possibilities that make sense to them,” she added, while lauding Chairman of the LASCO Group of Companies, Lascelles Chin, for his visionary thinking in establishing the Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of stable, loving homes, and the school in laying a strong foundation for children.
She argued that young persons with strong family groundings and positive reinforcement of values at school will have strong morals and feel a sense of self-worth, which will translate into “a clear vision of self and the future”.
Mrs. Simpson Miller further urged various stakeholders, who interact with the school community, including past students, to remain undaunted in the face of “new and long-standing social problems that threaten the development of the youth”. She said that schools that have a successful model should reach out to other institutions, especially those in vulnerable inner city areas.
“Share your experiences, learn more from theirs and generally, give support to needs and capabilities,” she urged.
Mrs. Simpson Miller lauded the teachers and students of St Andrew High school, and its principal, Sharon Reid, who is the 2007 Lasco Principal of the Year.”Your being named Principal of the Year is not only a quality statement about you. It is also recognition of the quality of the entire school,” the Prime Minister stated.