“The only thing constant in life is change” – Francois de la Rochefoucauld?
Change is, indeed, an inevitable aspect of our daily lives, but it is what we do with that change that either brings success or creates challenges.
Parents, students, and staff, it is with great humility that I extend a warm welcome to you as your new principal of St. Maarten Academy’s academic campus. As I take the helm of this prestigious institution to lead you into the 2014-15 school year, it would be remiss of me were I not to take note of a stalwart in education – Mr. Shareed Hussain – who helped to mould this school into what it is today.
After 28 years of dedicated service, first as a teacher of Mathematics and Physics, and any other subject he was asked to teach, as he jokingly told us, Mr. Hussain assumed leadership of the school in 2001, and for the next 13 years, guided us with much zeal and determination. There was no mistaking his passion and love for this institution. Under his tutelage, the school grew exponentially into one that produces great results each year at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations through the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
Those accolades were further complimented through the numerous other awards garnered in sports, essay, debate, and art competitions, and the annual science fair, to mention a few. These awards demonstrate a school that is committed to caring, learning, achieving, and excelling, as our motto boldly declares.
So as we prepare to start a new year, let us not forget the past, but use the knowledge to build on it and create a bigger and better future. The first such step will be taken this year as we launch a sixth form to offer the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) – Mr. Hussain’s brainchild. He, together with his team and with the support of Education Minister Patricia Lourens-Philip, recognized that out students should be allowed to continue their education after CSEC to receive an Associate Degree prior to entering college or the workforce. This shows the continued commitment of our School Board, and teaching and administrative staff to develop the whole child through our ever-dynamic and expanding curricula and extra-curricular programmes.
With that in mind, I urge all of us to continue to work together to produce the kind of citizens who will not only excel academically, but morally, exemplifying the values that make us proud as an institution, community and an emerging island-nation. It is important to remember that we live in competitive and challenging times. But we are confident that our rich history and legacy in being the leader in education, as well as having a very capable and talented staff set us apart from the rest. We will continue to grow and rise to the challenges in education.
We can do this by creating our own culture within our schools – both the academic and PSVE campuses. Both campuses must commit to excellence. It is not enough for us to preach this to our students, but our Board, Management and staff must model excellence and live it.
My dream for this institution is that anyone must walk onto to our campus, be greeted by a welcoming environment and say to themselves, “There is something special going on here! Learning is taking place here. I feel it! People are being cared for here, and feel safe here – the teachers, administrative staff, ancillary staff, parents, and students. They must see our achievements, and feel and experience our excellence.”
Parents and students, none of us can do it alone. It takes all of us to rally around this notion of excellence and recommit to making this school a place we can all be proud of.
Be excellent. Own it. Live it. Once again, I welcome you warmly to our St. Maarten Academy family! Do have a successful 2014-2015 school year.
Drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool