the Governor's Speeches

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Committed to Excellence

Opening Address
Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence
His Excellency, the Governor of Sint Maarten,
drs. Eugene B. Holiday,

June 17, 2022
Cay Hill, Belair Community Center

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to all joining us for the third annual Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence.

Welcome Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Ministers, evaluation committee members, finalists, parents, nominators and to all present with us in the audience as well as online.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is our third annual Governor’s Youth Awards For Excellence. As your hosts, Marie-Louise and I, are pleased to recognize and share the achievements of several of our outstanding youths with you. The Theme for this year’s awards’ ceremony is: Committed to Excellence. I have chosen this theme because it is my belief that Commitment fuels Excellence.

We are as a result here to acknowledge and celebrate the commitment to excellence of several of our youths who will receive the 2022 Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence this evening.

As a country our people are our foremost important resource. Our nation’s success now and in the future stands or falls with the quality of the performance of our people in the workplace, in academics, in sports, in the arts, in community activities, in the protection of our environment and more.  It is therefore our obligation to invest in our people. And the best place to start is with investing in our youth. That is we must teach them, guide them, mold them, invest in them to be the very best they can be. That calls for commitment from parents, teachers, and mentors towards the advancement of our youth. It calls for commitment from our churches, organizations, our communities, our government towards the advancement of our youths. Commitment that encourages and inspires our children to be committed to excellence in whatever the task. The Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence is as a result aimed at encouraging young persons to always strive for excellence. The Award therefore recognizes youths, ages 13 through 19, who have excelled in academics, sports, arts, environmental protection, or community service.

The Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence recognizes excellence as a mindset, as a habit, in that it seeks to capture the candidates’:
• skills in terms of their consistent outstanding achievements in their specific field of interest;
• to capture their dedication to their education;
• to capture their special qualities in terms of their determination, respect for peers and teachers; and
• to capture their potential to inspire.

This year we received 16 nominations. All 16 candidates went through a thorough evaluation by our distinguished panel of judges under the leadership of Mrs. Oldine Bryson-Pantophlet. Thank you Mrs. Bryson-Pantophlet, Ms. Cassandra Janssen, Dr. Rolinda Carter, Mr. Maikel Cornet, Ms. Clara Reyes, Mr. Ruben Thompson and Mrs. Fabiana Vanterpool-Arnell. Thank you for a wonderful job in evaluating and scoring each nominee.

I also wish to extend a very special thanks to each of you, to Mr. Guy Simmon, and to my staff who have worked tirelessly to organize and make this evening’s event possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks to their work the 2022 award recipients will be announced shortly. Coming to a recommendation and selecting the winners for the categories had its challenges, because all the finalists were deserving.

Based on the judges scoring we have six (6) finalists from the sixteen (16) nominees. No finalists were selected for the categories: sports, environmental protection, or community service. From the six finalists, awards will be presented in the categories:
• Arts; and
• Academics.

The finalists here this evening are the nominees that met all the award criteria and scored in the top three of their categories. The finalists will therefore where applicable be awarded as second runner up, first runner up or as winners of the awards.

Having reviewed the nominations of the finalists it is evident that each of you have put in a lot of hard work and received a lot of support. I therefore applaud the parents, teachers, and nominators on their efforts to develop and nurture the young finalists present with us this evening. As recognition for your investment in our youth we will be dedicating two songs to you during the program.

To the six finalists for the 2022 Governor’s Youth Award For Excellence,
1. Devon Skeete, Winner and Award recipient in Arts;
2. Naima Hodge, Winner and Award Co-Recipient in Academics;
3. Genesis Lewis, Winner and Award Co-Recipient in Academics;
4. Kesar Vasnani, First Runner up in Academics;
5. Ava Gibson, Second Runner-up in Academics; and
6.  Xavier Aventurin, Also Second Runner-up in Academics,
I hereby congratulate you and I trust that this award ceremony will inspire you to continue to be committed to excellence and to be a role model for your peers. And as you continue to strive for excellence, I wish to leave you with the following words:

The great philosopher Aristotle reminded us, and I quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Unquote.

It is in that spirit of commitment to Excellence that I declare the 2022 Governor’s Youth Award for Excellence Open.

Thank you.
God Bless our Youth, and
May God bless and protect our sweat Sint Maarten Land.