Students' Council Week - Message

Date Published: 
Saturday, February 15, 2020

 

National Secondary Students’ Council – Students’ Council Week

 

Presidents’ Message

Theme: Stand Up, Stand Out

By: Mr. Denver Smith

                                                                                                                            

It was Malcolm X who said “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” These wise words have helped to shape the understanding that we need to be firm in what we believe in. It is therefore this conviction that will shape our thrust to see positive change manifest in our lives.

Annually, the NSSC through part support from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, commemorates its Students’ Council Week (SCW) of Activities. This islandwide observance is geared at increasing awareness and highlighting the mandate and contributions of students’ councils. This year’s SCW, will be hosted between February 16-22, 2020 under the theme: “Stand Up, Stand Out.”

 

In keeping with this year’s theme, the NSSC will embark on a two-pronged effort aimed at:

  1. amplifying the importance of secondary schools having active student councillors who are empowered to ‘stand up’ that is, represent their peers on matters that affect them, matters of focus such as: mental health, cyber bullying, violence in school and student participation in the decision making processes

  2. encouraging administrators to host a ‘Students Appreciation Day’ to highlight the achievements of students, who continue to ‘stand out’ in achieving great successes in leadership, academics and volunteerism. This is in a bid to reinforce the importance of celebrating students as assets in the development of their school and community.

 

As student leaders we have seen and experienced things that have negatively impacted us over the years, either in our homes, schools or communities. The stigma associated with mental health challenges is alarming and many of our peers have been pushed into dark corners, to suffer alone.

Then we have acts of violence and cyber bullying that have left a countless number of students fearing for their lives. In addition to this, some platforms for speaking up have been suppressed by gate keepers who are convinced that “children should be seen and not heard.” While some student councillors have spoken up against these injustices, others have remained silent due to intimidation tactics.

My fellow peers, today I stand here, with my boldness embedded in Christ “that it is the dawning of a new day for Jamaica to further advance the agenda to respect and facilitate the promotion of student rights. 

We are encouraged by the support received from some school administrators, who continue to provide us with a platform to share our concerns. It is our desire to see every secondary school, public or private, establish and maintain students’ council with empowered student leaders who are willing to add value to the institutions to which they are assigned. 

As we aim to continue the advocacy, we must be firm in what we believe in, through our words and actions that no matter what consequences may arise, we will STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. Standing Out requires us to be distinguished agents of excellence, called to make a positive difference in this world.

This week will be the time that students will begin or continue to stand up for the things that matter such as mutual rights, integrity and justice. We commit to remain resolute in standing up for justice brotherhood and peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly so that Jamaica may under God increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

 

Thank you!