Leaders must help stimulate young people's minds - Students' Council president
President-elect of the National Secondary Schools Students' Council Antoinette Dennis refuses to believe that Jamaica will lose a generation to out-of-control youth and is urging the country's leaders to invest in strong mentorship programmes to stimulate the minds of her peers.
"I do not agree with the notion that this is a lost generation, mainly for the reason that there are still some of us that believe in our country who know the importance of our civic responsibility and who hold a positive belief of investing in one's self to improve Jamaica," the deCarteret College student said.
She was speaking at the official launch of the Kingston and St Andrew Development and Homecoming Foundation Limited's Student Motivational and Empowerment Programme at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston yesterday.
"It is a bad situation, but I do not believe in that lost-generation sentiment at all. I think it just takes a lot of meaningful mentorship and a set of inspirational leaders to invest in us and to help us be better citizens," said Dennis.
"That does not mean we as youth have no role to play. I believe that as students we need to find ways in which to dialogue instead of fighting and causing chaos in our schools. The disruptive behaviour that we have seen has been with us forever, but it is this generation that with behaviour-modification programmes, can change things."
Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid said the programme would give students the opportunity to share in the experiences of outstanding citizens who have achieved in their chosen field and are making invaluable contributions to Jamaica's development.
"We want you to know that we have every confidence that your generation can surpass the accomplishments of those who went before you," Reid told the students.
"Many successful international stories start right here in Jamaica, and your generation can take the baton and run with it faster and further in education, research, in sports and medicine, business, technology, and in the arts."
The Student Motivational and Empowerment Programme is aimed at motivating students and teachers. It seeks to encourage high school students in pursuing peace, excellence, discipline, ethical conduct, responsible leadership, and to develop a commitment to the principles and responsibilities of becoming good, productive citizens of Jamaica.
The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and targets schools in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew.
Some 40 outstanding citizens from Kingston and St Andrew will share personal motivational stories with students and discuss issues of leadership and career development, among other things. The inaugural staging will take place November 6-10, 2017.