St. Peters– On Saturday June 1st, 2019 the Pantophlet Villa Foundation hosted its second annual Patricia J.A. Pantophlet memorial lecture with the theme “Reimagining the future of education on St. Maarten”. The event was held at the Rupert I. Maynard Community center in St. Peters. After the opening prayer, Ms. T’keyah Dixen sang the National Song of St. Maarten and the favorite song of the late Ms. Pantophlet, “Because of who you are”. Furthermore, the key note address was delivered by local author and educator, Mr. Kenneth Cook.
In his address, Mr. Cook highlighted the various challenges, within the realm of public education. These include but not limited to outdated equipment such as “chalk and talk”, insufficient teacher training with students with special needs (dyslexia, ADHD) and subsidy cuts which often results in a sense of fear and uncertainty of workers.
Mr. Cook went provided a number of prudent recommendations such as: 1) basic training for teachers with students with learning disabilities; 2) Approach international NGOs, the Canadian Development Agency and local business to help fund public education on St. Maarten; 5) Promote digital learning in the classroom 6) Parents should form an organization to lobby Parliament defend rights the of students with learning disorders 6) Increase social dialogue between government, teachers, principals and unions to address the implementation of the subsidy ordinance.
President of the Pantophlet Villa Foundation, Mr. Riegnald “Bakari” Arrindell thanked the community for their continuous support and “giving what they can” over the years whether it’s the purchase of tasty homemade journey cake or a handsome cash donation. He encouraged the audience to support the Foundations “Help a Parent” project by donating as little as Naf 5 per month. “Don’t only look at it as helping to cover a child’s contribution, but you are also bringing much needed stability to families living in fragile conditions”, he said.
“While we have come to the end of our program, he remarked, but the end of our mission. This year, through the kind contribution of several sponsors (known and anonymous) the Pantophlet Villa Foundation was able to assist 8 students/families. However, next year, we are celebrating 11 years and aim to help 11 students/families” was met with a large round of applause by the audience.
Mr. Arrindell thanked the parents for their hard work, commitment and active involvement in their child’s education, the management of the St. Joseph School for their invaluable role by submitting the names of recipients and the teachers in the audience for their important role in our society and going above and beyond the call of duty and, sometimes working in very challenging circumstances to help our children succeed.
Finally, Mr. Arrindell encouraged students to constantly educate themselves in order to become independent and self-reliant. By doing so, you are preparing yourself to lead a productive and successful life. Discipline yourself to read something every day, to learn a new word every day to increase your vocabulary, listen to motivational speeches and attend important and educational activities whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The secret to life, is to have no fear! Therefore, never be afraid to rise to the heights of your greatness! The future of St. Maarten, the Future of the Caribbean will be determined by your efforts and progress”. A cheque, on behalf of 8 families, was presented to a representative of the St. Joseph School.
President of the St. Maarten Alzheimers Foundation, Mr. Keith Franca shared some of his fondest memories of the late Ms. Patricia Pantophlet while she served as the secretary at the Labor Office and reminded the audience the she was a founding member of the St. Maarten Alzheimers Foundation. “Switching caps”, and speaking in his capacity as Director of the St. Maarten development Fund, Mr. Franca commended the PVF for its work in the community and pledged to triple the amount of funds raised by the foundation is able to sponsor.
The Foundation can still help 33 children within 1 month. He went on to say that SMDF subsidizes various NGOs and School Boards and underscored his desire to enter into a strong working relationship with the Pantophlet Villa Foundation in the not so distant future.
Ms. Tiffany Dixen extended a vote a thanks to our continued sponsors. These include: Ms. Alicia Pantophlet, Ms. Marie Gittens, Mr. Derrick Carroll, AVET, Artsen Services, Mr. Raymond Thompson, Total Services, Gas King, Quality Technologies, Ms. Joycelyn Pantophlet, Flemings Café, Ms. Joyce Arrindell,, Mrs. Theresa maccow- peters, Ms. Arlene Patterson, Mr. Earl Bass, the Control Band, Mr. Raymond Jr. & Mrs. Tishelle Pantophlet