From left: Deputy Government Commissioner of Education Mervyn Stegers, Olive Berkel-Morris accepting her Long Service in Teaching Award, and guest speaker Omayra Leeflang.

 

Some of the teachers and guests at the Teachers Awards Gala.

 

  1. EUSTATIUS--Teachers and supporters were overwhelmed and excited at the first-ever Teachers Awards Gala hosted by Foundation for Reinforcing Education, Performing Arts Literature and Culture at Mike van Putten Youth Center/Lions’ Den in St. Eustatius on Saturday, October 5.

A red carpet reception kicked off the gala, during which hostesses Nailah Schmidt and Sherees Timber interviewed many nominees, who shared their excitement about the evening and their teaching aspirations.

Main gala organiser Christina Timber-Glover reminded the teachers what “rare gems” they are. “The demand for teachers is very high. Based on research by UNESCO, the need for teachers will be so high in the next decade that children might not be able to receive a good basic education because of the lack of teachers,” she said.

Guest speaker Omayra Leeflang, a former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, as well as a former chairwoman of the Parliament of the former Netherlands Antilles, gave a dynamic speech.

Leeflang expounded on the importance of the teaching profession and stimulated teachers to use the tools they have and the specific needs required in realising that each child is different and requires a different approach.

Her dynamic speech, which was filled with practical information, was well-received by the teachers and others at the event.

The gala came to a peak with the award segment, which was nicely organised by Mistress of Ceremonies Alida Francis, with Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers assisting with the awards presentation.

Jan Meijer received the Humanitarian in Teaching Award for ensuring that students excel by giving free extra lessons at any time as well as assisting with schooling and housing of students in the Netherlands and Florida, United States.

Wikipedia Awards were given to teachers Deborah Hinkson and Tessa Courtar, while the Creative Classroom awardee was Tamara Richardson.

The theme for World Teachers Day 2019, which was observed around the world on October 5, was: “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.” In keeping with this theme, O’dille Moses received the Christopher Glover Young Professionals Award for her voluntary reading classes.

The Long Service in Teaching Award went to retired teacher Olive Berkel-Morris, who has career of 60 years under her belt at Governor de Graaff and Lynch Plantation/Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Schools. She also was the first principal of the SDA School.

Applause and peals laughter emerged from the audience when pictures and videos were shared of “Meneer” Ellis Woodley, the winner of the Teaching in Excellence Award.

Ellis is a former Minister of Education of the Netherlands Antilles and former Principal of Bethel Methodist School. He is known for his love for education in general.

The Bethel Methodist school board recognised teacher Tessa Courtar-Thomas for her dedication, commitment and hard work.

Timber said there had been “huge” challenges in organising the event, especially with the lack of sponsorship.

“While we evaluate, we prepare for our second annual awards gala on October 17, 2020. It is important to see that the teaching profession here in Statia has just stepped up to a next level and that is a dream come true,” she said.