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Carmona celebrates Universal Children’s Day with Hope Academy


Trinidad Express / Hope Academy Preparatory School held its celebration in commemoration of Universal Children’s Day on Friday 18th November, 2016, commencing with a celebratory breakfast for all its parents and children. The celebration was made even more momentous by the presence of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona and Mrs Reema Carmona. Universal Children’s Day, which is celebrated globally on November 20, is intended as a day to promote international togetherness, awareness and understanding among children around the world. In her welcome address, the principal of Hope Academy, Dr Jennifer Collymore, reminded the gathering that “even amidst the worldwide recognition of their rights, children are still among the most vulnerable groups in societies highly susceptible to changing environmental, social and economic conditions…remember your brothers and sisters around the world who may be suffering from starvation and malnutrition, who may have been innocent victims of war, terrorism and human trafficking. We remember those children who are deprived of an education but must rather work to support themselves and their families. We think of those children who are growing up with abusive, neglectful parents, not knowing what it means to feel safe and protected.” The security, safety and wellbeing of children must be made a top priority on the global development agenda. Increasing cultural awareness In an effort to increase cultural awareness, knowledge and sensitivity among the children, pupils of the Academy were to dress in the national wear or national colours of any country in the world and they also had to do some research into the culture of that country and be able to share that information with their peers. “I see what is being done here in terms of ensuring that our young people do not only become great citizens of Trinidad and Tobago but great citizens of the world. What does it mean to be a global villager? What is my responsibility as a global villager? And it is only when you come to terms with that definition, that partial definition of yourself as a citizen of the world then I can assure we are going to change the world around us because if you are a global villager you will think about climate change; if you are a global villager you will think about human trafficking; if you are a global villager you will think about drug trafficking; if you are a global villager you will ensure that the place is a better place by your personal actions towards each other and can be a better place by you showing respect to every single person on the face of the Earth even though that person is your opponent or even your enemy because at the end of the day we need to treat people like people.” One of the core goals of the school is to develop in its students concern and respect for the welfare of others, with specific reference to interpersonal relationships based on sensitivity, tolerance and goodwill so Reema Carmona’s admonishment to the pupils was both timely and relevant as she said “When you are on social media be nice to one another. You may have differences of opinions and so forth but always keep it at a standard. It is ok to have differences of opinion but there is no need to degrade one another. It’s about upliftment to each other and one another. That is so, so important.” President Carmona also told the pupils “do not call anyone dotish, do not call anyone stupid, do not call anyone foolish; you might call someone ignorant, but do not demean anyone in our society to score points…be kind, be honest, be nice, do not be a bully, be fair and have an enjoyable, wonderful childhood.” Interacted with parents President Carmona and his wife warmly interacted with the parents and shared well received hugs with the children. As a token the children received rubber wrist bands in the President’s colours of blue and gold that bore the President’s crest. The bands bore the inscription, “Do The Right Thing. It Is The Right Thing To Do.” The President also presented the school with two books: Virtual Glimpses into the Past: Snapshots of the History of Trinidad and Tobago signed by the author Angelo Bissessarsingh and The Saga of the Companies: A History of the Merikin Settlers in Trinidad. Reema Carmona greatly encouraged the gathering when she stated “I think it’s a wonderful centre that you all have here today. I wish that many schools would use this as a template for their own child development. I think it’s an excellent, excellent thing you’re doing…I just enjoyed being here this morning…and this is my first trip to Sangre Grande. I really wish you all great prosperity and happiness and there is still hope for Trinidad and Tobago.”

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