Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School pupils listen attentively to the founder of the school during the school's welcome programme on Monday.
PHILIPSBURG--After a long summer break, students in St. Maarten returned to school on Monday for the first day of the new academic year.
The first day back to school is usually an exciting time for students, as they get to see their friends again and start a new class. For many students, the first day back to school is a time to catch up with their classmates and share stories about their summer vacations. For some, the first day of school can be an emotional roller-coaster, with tears, hugs, and bittersweet goodbyes.
As schools reopened their doors for the new academic year, commuters were once again facing heavy traffic on their daily commutes.
At primary schools, pupils were greeted by their teachers with open arms and big smiles. Many schools had organised special activities, attractions and welcome programmes to help pupils feel more comfortable in their new classrooms and to encourage them to work together as a team.
At many schools, parents were seen wiping away tears from their children’s faces as they said goodbye to their little ones. Many children were seen clinging to their parents, unsure of what to expect in their new classroom. However, with the support of their parents and teachers, most children soon settled into their new routine and began to enjoy the excitement of learning and making new friends.
Unlike the primary schools, many of the high schools featured a much smaller and quieter first day of school, as they opted for a staggered approach for the return of students. For many this meant that only first form students were present on school grounds on Monday.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel issued a message of support and encouragement. In a back-to-school message addressed to the education family, the minister expressed his hope that they had all enjoyed a fantastic summer vacation, and welcomed them back to school for what he hoped would be a successful and enjoyable academic year.
“Remember,” he said, “it is important to believe in yourself, display a positive attitude, and strive for excellence.” He went on to emphasise the importance of education, describing it as a gateway to a world of endless possibilities. “It empowers us to dream big, think critically, and unlock our true potential,” he said. “It equips us with knowledge, skills, and the confidence to overcome any challenge that comes our way.”
He concluded his message by reminding students, teachers and parents alike that education is important and that they should all strive to make the most of the opportunities it provides.
Samuel was also present at Leonard Connor Primary School where he welcomed pupils, parents/guardians and staff to a new school year and wished everyone much success.
He also said that for this academic year all public education classrooms have been outfitted with digital boards and all teachers were provided with new laptops.
Teachers will be participating in various trainings to further equip them with the knowledge on how to properly use the digital boards. The training sessions are expected to commence within the coming weeks.