Over 300 children from Moruga and surrounding communities will be starting the school year with backpacks and supplies; thanks to the Back to School Programme of Atlantic Sports Ambassador and former West Indies Women’s Captain Merissa Aguilleira. Now in its sixth straight year, two hundred and sixty (260) Primary School students and seventy (70) students at the secondary level received school supplies, sponsored by LNG producer, Atlantic. The most outstanding SEA pupils, male and female from Marac Baptist School also received awards.
Students received a selection of school and stationary items, while four primary school students who had been previously identified based on need, received all of their text books as well. Joshua John and Faith Mohammed, the special awardees for the Most Outstanding Male and Female SEA Students received a packed school bag containing note books, stationary supplies, a sketch pad, geometry set and a $300.00 gift voucher.
The annual ceremony was held at the Marac Community Centre Compound, with students and families representing schools from the community. Addressing a room packed with students, parents, organizers, and well-wishers, Merissa recalled that in her school days it was quite difficult for her parents to send her and her siblings to school. The Back to School Programme was born from that memory, and held a special place in her heart because it aided so many needy families in the community.
Aguilleira exhorted parents to support their own children, and urged everyone to give back to their community saying, “A lot of people think that you must have plenty to give…But I want to encourage everyone: no matter how small it is, you may think it is not sufficient, no matter what it is, give someone something because it’s a good feeling to give.”
In speaking of the programme, Camille Salandy, Manager, Sustainability and Corporate Communications at Atlantic said: “We are deeply committed to facilitating the development of the next generation, and personal outreach initiatives like this, reinforce Atlantic’s other efforts in the fields of sport, education, and the environment to help build communities and by extension our nation.” She also encouraged students benefitting from the programme to see it as a “start and an opportunity for learning new things and growing.”
Throughout the evening, students and supporters alike were treated to performances and addressed by principals of each primary school, as well as representatives from supporting organisations such as the Marac Community Council, the National Library and Information System Authority and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.