A citrus tree symbolizing the potential and future national contribution of Point Fortin’s children was planted yesterday (September 19) by Atlantic CEO Dr. Philip Mshelbila and the 2018 top ten SEA students from Point Fortin. The occasion was a special ceremony to induct the students into the Atlantic Point Fortin’s Finest Leadership Development Programme.
The ten include Syron Nandoo and Darion Seuraj (now attending Presentation College); Kenya Ackie (ASJA Girls College); Calisa Pierre and Lara Bharat (St. Joseph’s Convent); Andrea Joseph and Tiffany Glod (Holy Faith Convent, Penal); Elisa Singh (Vessigny Secondary); Jayvyn Bedeau (Naparima College); and Emily George (Naparima Girls High School). They will join 189 past and presentstudents who have participatedin Atlantic’s programme, the company’s longest running Sustainability initiative which began in 2000.
Dr. Mshelbila congratulated the students and urged them to find ways to continue to harness their creativity, discipline and determination. Drawing reference to Natasha Bedingfield’s song ‘Unwritten’ which was rendered as an inspriing trubute to the inductees by Point Fortin resident Tishanna Stoute, Dr. Mshelbila reminded the students that “you are the ones who will determine what gets written in the stories of your lives.”
“The Point Fortin’s Finest programme is designed to help develop scholars, but much more importantly, it is designed to help develop leaders,”” Dr. Mshelbila said. “”For every student whom we enroll into this programme, there is the strong possibility that we have enrolled someone who one day can help change our world.””
The ten were also addressed by university students Keenan Chatar and Ariel Chitan, who represented Trinidad and Tobago in the NASA International Internship (NASA I2) programme in August. The two 2018 NIHERST NASA interns discussed some of their exciting experiences at the NASA Reserach Centre, including their mentorship by leading aeromechanic researchers.
“It might be a little difficult to see in the present, but your dedication to studies today helps to create opportunities for you in the future,” Chatar said. “Don’t shy away from adversity; it builds character, it makes you grow and exposes you to able to learn more. You also have the support of your group and advice of the leaders who have gone before you.”
Past Point Fortin’s Finest, O’Neele Bhola shared with the inductees his journey through the Atlantic programme. He encouraged them to enthusiastically receive the opportunity that the Atlantic programme represented, describing how it “supports your holistic development and builds self-esteem, leadership and social skills.”
Newly inducted Calisa Pierre, student at St. Joseph’s Convent, said that being accepted into the programme has motivated her to continue working hard. “Being a part of the Point Fortin’s Finest reminds me that I can achieve what I put my mind to. I am excited for what the future holds,” Pierre said. Fellow inductee Darion Seuraj agreed: “This programme will help me pursue my education but I look forward to the learning opportunities to become a future leader in my community.”
Every year, the Atlantic Point Fortin’s Finest Leadership Development Programme admits the ten students from Point Fortin and environs with the highest scores in the SEA examinations. The Programme provides financial support for seven years of secondary school and three years of university/tertiary education. The students are also given the opportunity to participate in annual vacation camps that develop their life skills and leadership competencies. A World-of-Work internship during the July/August vacation is open to tertiary level students among the Point Fortin’s Finest. The Programme also features mentorship of incoming inductees by select senior participants.