NIA-CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (February 7TH, 2011) — “Forty years of existence as an institution that has provided and continues to provide wholesome, topnotch education is indeed remarkable and no meager achievement,” were words expressed by Education Officer in the Ministry of Education Mrs. Avril Elliott.
Her remarks, made at the Jan. 29TH awards and dinner for the St. Thomas’ Primary School, added fillip to a speech delivered by the island’s Premier and Minister of Education the Honourable Joseph Parry.
Mrs. Elliott, an Education Officer within the Nevis Island Administration’s Ministry of Education, said she was proud of the institution that “continues to be a prominent and admirable education icon.”
“The St. Thomas Primary School stands as a beacon of hope and promise and its brilliant rays transcend its boundaries to create fully functioning individuals evident in Nevis as well as the Nevisian Diaspora,” she explained.
In addition to proffering congratulations on behalf of the Ministry of Education to the school’s principal and staff, the education official challenged the awardees to redouble their efforts towards providing fanatical service to the school.
“I implore all successors to continue to be dedicated in ensuring that the high ideals of the St. Thomas’ Primary School are maintained and the rich legacy of excellence, school pride and tenacity is perpetuated,” Mrs. Elliott said.
Meanwhile, Minister Parry, a resident of the St. Thomas’ parish, said that while many persons “speak of development” in terms of roads, water and electricity, “the real props of what we need and [what our] priority is [is] education.”
The education minister, in his remarks, underpinned the importance and value of education as he challenged the awardees to “go out into the communities of Craddock Road, Jessups, Cotton Ground, Barnes Ghaut and Westbury and wherever [else] and try to reach out to young people.”
“Make them, once again, feel that that beacon of light that we call education is the most important thing in their lives and is the most important thing that will give them direction for the future to develop their community, their families and the island.
“I want you to understand that education is not just academics but it has to do with values: the teaching of values, the teaching of behaviour, the teaching of relationships, preparing people for the future. I want you to understand that you are actually shaping lives,” he said.
While Mr. Parry reflected on his childhood, he recalled the impact of former teachers who he described as “outstanding.”
“Many are people we still talk about today who taught us cricket, who taught us respect, who taught us the importance of education, who pointed us the way to performing and performing outstandingly and performing in our community and in our country,” he said.
Minister Parry spoke directly to the school’s teachers when he encouraged them to remain committed to the students despite obstacles they may face. These obstacles according to the education minister included ensuring the success of a struggling student.
“It is not always that you all will have the best student or the most outstanding student, in fact, being a great teacher doesn’t mean that you have to produce the outstanding student, it’s when you grapple with those who are on the margin and you can bring them inside, then is when your strength as a teacher is manifested and come forth and so if we can get more and more persons to do well and more and more persons motivated we would have fallen in the footsteps of Butler and Nicholls and all of the others who have done such a great job,” Mr. Parry said.
The awards ceremony and dinner was held at the Occasions Events Centre and was the final activity to mark the school’s 40TH anniversary celebrarion.