Charlestown-Nevis-Twenty young ladies,mostly representing the Charlestown and Gingerland Secondary schools, graduated in an impressive ceremony, held at the St.Paul’s Anglican Church conference room, on Monday 21st March.
The ceremony was ably chaired by School counsellor, Mrs. Tamesha Stanley and the opening prayer was done by Mr. Leostone Morrison and the national anthem, was beautifully rendered by one of the graduants.
Mrs. Stanley noted that the program was geared towards helping the young ladies to recognize their true worth and admonished them, using a famous quotation: “You were born an original—don’t die a COPY!”
Director at the Social Services Department, Mrs.Sandra Maynard, gave welcome remarks and noted that the program is sanctioned by the schools and the parents of the participating young ladies.
She asked the graduates to use the program and the information that was passed on, to guide their lives in the future.
She gave her own spin on the word PEARL:
P-Be PROUD of your accomplishments in life thus far
E-ENJOY your life-enjoy your youth
R-Be RESPECTABLE in the way you carry yourself
L-LOVE God and and your family and all those around you
Deputy Director of the Social Services Department, Mrs. Kim Singh, gave an overview of the program.
She noted that it is an ongoing intervention program, tailored for female students in the secondary schools, who are vulnerable to negative influences. This program is coordinated by the Social Services Department.
She noted that some of them ‘have some rough edges, which we are still trying to iron out.’
She then gave the meaning of PEARLS as stipulated by the department and noted that it is used as the Pearls’ creed and mantra.
The group started during the middle of last year and involved ten girls each, from the two main Secondary schools on the island-Gingerland and Charlestown. They were selected with the assistance of the schools’ counsellors.
The girls were involved in weekly secessions, facilitated by several professionals, which involved such topics as: Sexuality; teen pregnancy; child care; drug and alcohol use; family relationships; self confidence and self worth; gangs; violence; education and career development.
The sessions were held at the Pond Hill Community center on Wednesday afternoons.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, in his remarks focused on GOODNESS.
He noted that life was filled with choices between GOOD and EVIL—right and wrong-virtues and vices.
He urged the PEARLS to choose the road of GOOD and noted that hard work and dedication was required in order to achieve anything worthwhile.
‘There is beauty in character,’ he stated.
Some of the PEARLS then repeated their mantra, while another delivered a wonderful rendition of a well known song.
Miss Britney Simmonds then gave a response on behalf of the PEARLS group, during which she thanked all those responsible for the program and noted that as a group and as individuals, they had learnt a lot.
Certificates were then preseneted by Mr. Keith Glasgow, firstly to the facilitators of the program and then to the PEARLS themselves.