THE Piaye Combined School celebrated Universal Children’s Day on Monday by paying tribute to Dominica, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September.
According to the school’s Acting Principal, Eylyn Henry, the school usually celebrates Universal Children’s Day by inviting a guest speaker to speak to the students on various social issues. This time around, however, they decided to have a special assembly to pay tribute to neighbouring Dominica.
“This year, we are doing something different. We want to pay tribute to Dominica…The assembly is dedicated to the children of Dominica,” she said.
She added that students were asked to contribute $1 towards the purchase of T-shirts for the children of Dominica to go to school.
Cheryl Louis, another teacher at the school, said: “Today is all about children. As we celebrate Universal Children’s Day, our focus is to remind the children how special and how important they are. It is also a day when we remind them of the need to show empathy to others and their situations.”
Louis said the school sympathizes with and stands in unity with the children of Dominica.
“We are really hoping that our Dominican friends will rise from the ashes as they recover from the mayhem left behind by Hurricane Maria” she said.
During the assembly, there were presentations such as dancing, praying and speeches by students, expressing concerns about the various issues affecting children.
Devonte Jean, a student of the school, in his presentation, said we are living in a society which is unsafe due to crime happening around us, such as murder. He drew reference to the recent murder of Saadia Byron of Laborie, who was brutally raped and murdered, saying the thought of it makes him shiver.
Jean said: “Children, it could happen to anyone of us. Our country is not safe as the murder rate continues to increase. Presently, there are 54 cases of homicide and the year has not even ended.”
He called on children to obey the rules at school and at home in order to become model citizens of St. Lucia, adding that it will help to decrease crime.
“We need to learn conflict management at an early age,” he said.
According to Jean, one of the things which affect him most is the fact that many parents are being taken away from their children. This, he said, causes some children to be left to fend for themselves at a very tender age.
“Fellow schoolmates, we are the future of our country. Therefore, let us pray and do what we can to put crime to rest,” Jean said.
Leanna Roberts, another student of the school, described the day as one when kids everywhere will be raising their voices to help save children’s lives and fulfil their potential.
“It is a day to raise our voices for every child under the age of five who died needlessly from preventable causes: a day for every child affected by violence and poverty, a day for every child who lives in conflict and crises. Today is our day,” Roberts said.
Universal Children’s Day is observed on November 20 each year.