Minister Jacobs addresses JCI Speech Competition

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs proudly addressed the participants, parents and school representatives at the JCI Speech competition held on Sunday at the USM.


The students representing several high schools across the island were assigned the tasks to deliver a speech with conviction on either for or against this statement: Cultural Diversity is a strength rather than a weakness.

The Minister was elated with the choice of topic as it lends itself to a very healthy forum to hear the youths’ opinion.

Minister Jacobs was asked to address the attendees on this topic, and chose to focus on her own diverse heritage, and the uniqueness of the St. Maarten people who now have to reciprocate in welcoming strangers to our country, when just a short while ago our ancestors emigrated to find a better life.

Embracing other cultures while educating our citizens and visitors about our own culture can only strengthen our country.
The Minister encouraged the students to continue to forge ahead no matter the outcome of the competition. They were commended for their courage in taking part as well as for being representatives of their respective schools and therefore winners in their own right.

The speeches were dynamic, well thought through and delivered at a high level, and the competition proved to be fierce. The competitors themselves represented a cross section of our diverse society.

In the end, the top three students were exceptional, however, Shaquille Ortega (L.U.) emerged victorious. 2nd place was awarded to Shandani Fleming (L.U) and 3rd to Mannar Mohamed (St. Maarten Academy).

All students were awarded certificates of participation, and the top three also received plaques and prizes. Ortega also won the champion’s cup and will represent St. Maarten in Curacao in the upcoming Dutch Caribbean JCI Speech Competition.