From left: Excellence Learning Academy Foundation Director Alisha Brookes and Peridot Foundation President Gracita Arrindell.
PHILIPSBURG--Peridot Foundation recognised Alisha J. Brookes for her work in special needs education at its International Women’s Day 2022 celebration on Friday, March 12.
Peridot Foundation President Gracita Arrindell said special honours were bestowed on Excellence Learning Academy Foundation Director Alisha J. Brookes at an event held at John Larmonie Center in observance of International Women’s Day 2022.
“Peridot Foundation appreciates and acknowledges the work of a young foundation, its Director Alisha J. Brookes and board of Excellence Academy Leaning Foundation for its work in the field of special needs education,” Arrindell said on Sunday.
She said this foundation and similar institutions that cater to special needs education need more support and encouragement thereby making St. Maarten society more caring and accepting.
“Highly motivated, determined, passionate and humble are a few words describing our honouree,” Arrindell added.
Brookes is an educator by profession who is currently employed as a pedagogical worker/instructor at National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). She is a mother and advocate for special needs education.
Brookes obtained her Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Mohawk College, United States of America (USA). She taught at the local Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School as a teacher’s assistant for three years while completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social and Human studies with a major in Education.
Brookes has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration that includes several accredited certifications in special needs and special needs education.
“Equipped with her knowledge and experiences gained, most importantly seeing the need in our community in this area of education, without hesitation took the step to open her own after-school educational programme for kids ages four to 12 years,” Arrindell said.
In 2017 Brookes’ after-school programme was forced to shut down when 80 per cent of school equipment and other materials was lost due to the devastation of Hurricane Irma.
“With her resilience and motivated mind-set she re-opened her afterschool programme just one month after at a new location. Armed with three folding tables and eight plastic chairs Brookes worked her way back and up to serving over 90 students in her after-school educational programme,” Arrindell added. “Her aim to create a safe, healthy, academic programme for our special needs student community regardless of the setbacks she encountered made her stand out.”
The encouragement and support of many parents of children with special needs led Brookes to establish and become the Director of Excellence Learning Foundation that caters to children from infancy to school age, after-school educational development programmes for children ages four to 18.
Brookes opened her special education programme and childcare in 2018, firmly focused on education as well as advocacy for children and persons with special needs.
“A young woman who continues to strive for excellence and break biases in the area of special needs education with love and determination, Alisha Brookes, a shining example for our community in general and for special needs education in particular, is hereby encouraged to continue the good work. Thank you for your services,” said Arrindell.
She gave special thanks to Charlotte Brookson Academy for the performance by its students Rachel Augusma, Jaydon Samuel, Shevonni Boodram, Jaleena Hendrickson-Brown who delighted the evening with a rendition of the St. Maarten anthem, beautiful dance and song.
“Our gratitude goes out to sponsors Holland House Hotel, Spa Impulse, Divico, Kam’s Trading, City Mall store for making this celebration a very memorable one,” Arrindell concluded.