The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports spent early Monday morning at the St. Maarten Vocational Training School, where the Management and staff, hosted a Career Fair under the theme “Technology: The Gateway to Vocational Training” for the students of the SMVTS. The fair was organized by a committee of dedicated and hardworking career guidance team members and teachers. The Career fair was officially opened with speeches by the Interim Director Mrs. Rita Bourne-Gumbs, Divison Head of Public Education Glenderlin Davis-Holiday and Minister Jacobs as well as encouraging words and prayers by teachers, and songs by Career Guidance Counselor Ashayna Nisbeth and talented student Rouvelta. Jacobs encouraged the students to make the most of the demonstrations and presentations by the presenters from various businesses and entities who had taken the time out to give back to our community through the students of SMVTS. The students were also encouraged to “… look deep within yourself and find what you love to do, and build on it in order to be able to make a living doing what you love.” The Minister further emphasized that they should learn as much as they could while in school, make the most of all opportunities such as this fair to be exposed to the real world, and remain open to continue to learn each and every day of their lives.
Minister Jacobs also stressed the importance of reading to the students and challenged them to read every day and work hard to get to the next level until they achieved proficiency. In today’s world ruled by technology, reading still remains fundamental and necessary. Jacobs expressed her understanding of the challenges being faced by the school and reassured students and staff that the Ministry is focused on finding solutions.
The Invited guests were given a tour of the school, getting a first-hand view of students’ creations in technology, welding, carpentry and food preparation. The school’s Interim Director highlighted several students who go above and beyond to contribute positively to the school. The model business design project of student Joel Martinez was quite impressive and received rave reviews from all the visitors to the school. Noteworthy to mention is the dedication of the teachers to help the students to achieve their vision which was evident in the model “Residences of SMVTs Housing and Commercial Enterprise” young Martinez created. This was also evident in the craftsmanship of the wooden bowls and other articles, metal gates, wooden benches the students made and the meals they prepared for their guests. Several students of the school also served as ushers, who were very hospitable in making the guest feel welcomed.
After the tour, students were able to visit the various booths set up in classrooms throughout the school to learn more about the different careers available at SXM Airport, Telem, Fire Department, Sherwin Williams among others. This is the second fair the Minister has experienced at the school in 2016, and it is evident that the school is aiming to raise the bar for its students and to improve the perception of the school within the community. The Minister commends Management and staff for actively working together with students to fulfill the school’s motto: “The world of Education meets the World of Work”. While the Ministry has a lot to do to make sure that the SMVTS meets the needs of the students and the community, it is heartwarming to see the dedication and hard work that goes on there despite the challenges being faced. Minister Jacobs would like to thank all those who helped to make the SMVTS Career Fair 2016 a success for the students.