February 11th, 2014 -- One hundred and eighty-two beaming parents graduated from the Parent Empowerment Programme on Thursday 30th January 2014.
The very impressive graduation ceremony which was coordinated by the hard working staff at the Department of Community Development was held at the Michael Sutton Auditorium at the NEPAC building in Charlestown, Nevis.
The proceedings were ably chaired by Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow who welcomed all present and congratulated the graduating class on their historic achievement.
Also addressing the impressive gathering were the Premier of Nevis, the Hon Vance Amory who admonished the parents to be the engine and driving force that guide their children in a positive direction.
He noted that with the parents now having acquired this new knowledge, they can now help the children within the home environment where there are one, two or three children, in a more personal way than the Teachers who have to deal with thirty or forty children at a time.
Minister Amory observed that some of the parents may well go on to pursue higher education, maybe even attempting CXC subjects now that “they have had thier appetite wet and drunk from the fount of knowledge.”
Director of Community Development, Mrs. Janet Meloney gave an overview of the project which she indicated her brainchild. The program involved certain Trained Teachers who were specifically asked to guide the parents in such subjects as Mathematics, Language Arts, Character Building and Information Technology. The idea behind the project was to enhance the knowledge base of the parents who in turn would be able to assist their Primary school children in terms of the specific subject areas.
She congratulated the Facilitators for their efforts and patience and also applauded the parents for finishing the course. Junior Minister in the Ministry of Social Development, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams also spoke to the gathering and quoted Kathleen Blanco’s statement that “education is a solution to poverty.”
Minister Brandy-Williams warmly congratulated the parents for their sacrifice and endurance in completing the course. She also applauded the efforts of Mrs. Meloney and her staff for conceptualizing the project and working it through its implementation stage.
The Secretary General of UNESCO based in St.Kitts, Mr. Antonio Maynard, also made an impressive presentation. He also congratulated Mrs. Meloney and others who made the project possible. He pointed out that the conceptualization and implementation of the project were timely. He also urged other stake holders to make the most of the assistance being offered by UNESCO.
He also pointed out that UNESCO was happy to team up with the Department of Community Development on the project in educating parents and children as it would help to stem some of the social ills within the society.
Ms Earlene Maynard represented the facilitators and expressed on their behalf, the joy of being a part of such a program. Mrs. Rhonda Forbes represented the parents and noted that the facilitators not only shared their knowledge with them but also ensured that the classes were ‘fun.’
To add more flavour and dignity to the proceedings, the 182 graduants were serenaded as they walked to their seats by the wonderful voice of the youthful and talented Kishawn Warner who effectively rendered ‘FOR YOU AND I.’ The Eden Browne Church of God dance group also delivered a scintillating dance performance which was well received. Mr. Lloyd Williams also skillfully played a prayer on saxophone---his instrument of choice.
The graduants, all splendiferously attired, collected their certificates from Premier Amory and Mrs. Amory and proudly posed for photographs, as they thoroughly enjoyed the moment.
They later made their royal exit, complete with lit candles, to the strains of the beautiful voice of Miss Nyalah Daniel, who received a standing ovation on completing the song “Go LIGHT YOUR WORLD.”
The graduants, their family members and the dignitaries present were then treated to sumptuous snacks in the NEPAC courtyard.
The general thoughts expressed by those present is that the program is a very beneficial one and that much appreciation must be expressed to UNESCO and Mr. Maynard for ensuring that the project idea did come to fruition. The hope is that there will be many more similar programs in the future.
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