October 25, 2007
A community based mentor initiative called the CARES Programme has been inaugurated by the Charlestown Secondary School (CSS) Counseling Department. The programme commenced on Thursday October 18th 2007 with an opening ceremony at the school’s new extension.
Supervisor of the Multipurpose Center, Mr. Dwight Morton, who served as master of ceremonies, said in his welcome remarks that the Charlestown Secondary School was well known for its numerous successes and had always strived for excellence.
He said that it was in that regard that the school’s Principal, Mr. Edson Elliott and the counselors had decided to start the programme. Mr. Morton noted that the outreach program was intended to reach out to the community to partner with the school in an attempt improve the students who were selected for the programme.
“The CARES Programme [means] the school and community working together to Create, Achieving Responsible and Exceptional Students. The critical word is Exceptional students. We know we have good students but we want them to excel and that is why we decided to launch this CARES programme,” said Mr. Morton.
Mr. Elliott joined in endorsing the programme as he commended head of the Counseling Unit, Miss Lornette Swanston and staff for organising the mentorship programme. He also applauded the mentors and parents for their support to the school.
Mr. Elliott said it was recognised that youths faced extreme challenges and as an academic institution, the school would continue to provide and enlighten them to the opportunities available to them. He said though there were many students, who had accepted the schools’ guidance, there were those who needed to be reached. He called on the community to compliment the efforts of the CSS and rallied for the assistance of those who were willing to give of their time, expertise, patience and love for the development of the youths.
The Principal urged parents to continue to support their children in the programme and to cherish the mentorship programme as a supplement to their efforts and reminded them that they should not give up on their responsibilities
“This arrangement has the potential to achieve success, however this is dependent on the approach of the stakeholders, the mentee, the parents, the teachers, the mentors, the school”¦let us all approach this with optimism, and cooperate for the good of our youth. I therefore wish the CSS CARES Programme long live and a resounding success,” Mr. Elliott said.
Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Joseph Wiltshire lauded the initiative taken by the school to formalise the programme and spoke of its importance.
“I do believe that a programme such as this is indeed important if we ought to transform the landscape of Nevis. I know that this programme is formalised I can recall growing up in my village many, many moons ago when there were persons who took an interest to you and ensured that you did what was expected of you; in terms of your behavior in terms of your education.
“We all know that our young people tend to give trouble at times and so these persons who have decided to give up their time and to put their effort in this programme should be commended. I want to say to them that even as we go along, you find that there are some difficulties please do not give up,” Mr. Wiltshire said.
Also lending her support to the programme was Principal Education Officer, Mrs. Jennifer Hodge who commended the mentors and offered words of advice as they prepared to assume roles and responsibilities as mentors. She told them in order for the programme to succeed, there should be communication, be compassion and committed.
“My three C’s to you my dear mentors, C ““communicate C-compassion, and C-commitment. And I think you have 50 percent of commitment here because you are here this afternoon but you have another 50 to go. With that I am sure that you will succeed and you probably will not only want one child when you see how well you are doing, you will probably ask for another and then you can deal with two. So counselors we are very proud of you and the initiative you have taken and the support that you are getting from the principal and members of staff. I give my blessing and I wish the program every success, she said.
Head of the Counseling Unit, Ms. Lornette Swanston, outlined the goal of the community based programme, CARES, would pair at-risk students with community mentor to enable students to build self-esteem and a positive attitude toward learning.
She said the programme would seek to fulfill the objectives of providing students with the opportunity to form new relationships, develop new behaviors, gain new experiences and provide emotional support for students who have difficulty in school. The programme is also expected to help students develop a positive self image, be successful in the classroom and enable them to use communication skills effectively.
Several parents, teachers, mentors, students in the programme and key education officials including Education Consultant, Miss Bronte Gonzales as well as business sponsors to the programme were in attendance.