Tefari Prevoo Francisco.

Aquila Pemberton.

 

PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten Academy student Aquila Pemberton and St. Dominic Primary School student Tefari Prevoo Francisco won second place in different categories of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association's (FCCA) Children's Environmental Poster Competition.

The 15-year-old Pemberton won the second prize in the Senior Division of the competition, while Francisco, who is age 12, placed second in the Junior Division. As the second-place winner in her category, Aquilla will receive a cash scholarship of US $1,500 and her school will also receive US $1,500. Francisco will also receive a cash Scholarship of $1,500 with her school receiving the same.

This is the second year that St. Maarten contestants have become finalists in the competition in 16 years. This year's theme was "Solutions for Ocean Pollution," it was stated in a press release.

The winners were selected from amongst candidates from 15 Caribbean nations. Judges had the difficult task of determining this year's winners as there were many exceptionally creative and artistic pieces from which to select a winner, the release said. Each poster entry received "exemplified Caribbean excellence" recognition for their depiction of ways in which to preserve the environment. The FCCA Poster Competition is organised annually by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau as part of its Tourism awareness activities.

The competition seeks to promote and stimulate environmental awareness among students. Its primary goal is to educate the younger generation about the importance of environmental protection. Another benefit of the event is that it shows the correlation between Tourism and the Environment.

The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT) said the two winners were "examples of the extreme talent that we have on the island."

TEATT Minister Stuart Johnson said he is delighted to see St. Maarten's students taking a keen interest in understanding the environment. “The environmental challenges we face affect our ability to maintain economic growth as it forms part of our tourism product. To sustainably redevelop, changes must be made to protect our coastal waters and the air we breathe," Johnson said in the release.

Johnson said the FCCA' s Poster Competition gives students and residents, in general, a greater appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits that come from keeping St. Maarten clean. "As we continue to build an environmentally and economically sustainable St. Maarten, it must be clear that everyone has a role to play." The minister congratulated Pemberton and Francisco for making their country proud. “I trust that Aquila and Tefari's achievement encourages them to continue pursuing excellence and inspires others to follow their lead."

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau also congratulated the two and the art teachers of the St. Maarten Academy and the St. Dominic High school.