Grenfell kissoon, managing director, TPCL
Senator the Honourable Hazel Manning, Minister of Education, Chairman Emeritus of the Ansa McAl Group, Dr. Anthony Sabga, chairman of the board of Trinidad Publishing, Dennis Gurley, chief assessor, Dr Anna Mahase, our very special guests Wendy Fitzwilliam, Ato Boldon and Michael Phillips, representatives of our corporate co-sponsors, principals, parents, students.
On behalf of the Trinidad Publishing Co Ltd, and our valued corporate co-sponsors, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to this our 15th Guardian-in-Education prize presentation function, and the launch of our 2005 project.
I am particularly delighted that the Minister has taken time off her busy schedule to join with us today. This clearly demonstrates her recognition of the value of this project, and her commitment and support, for which we are grateful. The Guardian in Education project commenced in 2000.
Dr Anthony Sabga, who is here with us today, always expressed a passionate interest in having young people write in the paper. It was out of his suggestion that the project was born.
Since its inception in 2000, we have awarded over $370,000 in scholarship assistance to 58 students from schools across Trinidad and Tobago. Thirty -five students have also won computers and printers valued at over $380,000, and many of these students are either currently at university, or have completed undergraduate programmes in several disciplines.
We at Trinidad Publishing Co Ltd and our corporate co-sponsors are proud to have made a difference to their lives.
In 2005 we propose to deepen this effort by incorporating a most valuable dimension to the mechanics of the project.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, we propose to facilitate a motivational intervention in our secondary schools by five of our most distinguished young exemplars, national heroes.
Three of them are here with us today, Ato Boldon, Wendy Fitzwilliam and Michael Phillips.
Brian Lara and George Bovell have also given their commitment to this initiative.
These celebrities will be visiting secondary schools, year-round, throughout Trinidad and Tobago, and will be speaking to students about their own challenges, struggles, hardships, disappointments and the values, principles and guiding philosophy which helped them to achieve success and fame.
We hope that through this intervention students will be inspired to pursue noble dreams, and to reshape their values, and encourage their peers so to do.
To foster the broadest national interest in the project, we will not only be publishing the speeches of these national heroes in the Guardian newspaper for the benefit of all readers, but students will also be required to write essays on the messages of our distinguished achievers, and to relate how the intervention would have impacted them in terms of inspiration, motivation, and changes in their personal philosophy and values, and the best of these will also be published and prominently placed.
Students adjudged to have written the winning essays would continue to receive valuable prizes each term in the form of scholarship assistance, computers and printers, and the winners schools will also continue to benefit from cash contributions to the schools fund.
The project will be extensively advertised using all media newspaper, radio and TV. We will also continue to provide 5,000 newspapers each school day to secondary schools across Trinidad and Tobago.
Part of the huge cost of this project which encompasses prizes, newspapers, and extensive media advertising will be met by contributions from five socially-minded corporate sponsors.
This years sponsors are RBTT Bank, BG Trinidad & Tobago, Guardian Holdings, YARA (Trinidad), and the National Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago.
I would like to express our gratitude to these socially-minded corporations. co-sponsors of the last term project were: RBTT Bank, Guardian Holdings, BG Trinidad & Tobago Ltd, and the National Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago. Prize support has Hilton Trinidad, Tidco, Amco, and BWIA.
Again, I would like to express our special thanks to RBTT Bank and the National Gas Co of Trinidad & Tobago for continuous support of the project since its inception in 2000.
The change in the philosophy of the project in 2005 has been influenced by the prevailing situation in the country.
When you look at the new criminal menaces of kidnapping, execution-style killings, electronic fraud, rampant robberies, mindless rapes, widespread corruption, and school violence, they point starkedly to a society in moral and spiritual decay.
We as corporate citizens and you as leaders and followers in the education system have choices. We may continue to accept the status quo and adjust to the new discomforting and frightening realities, or we may choose to do something about it. We at the corporate level have joined hands with the Ministry of Education and our distinguished national heroes to embark upon a programme that we are confident will make a difference.
We are convinced that the society can only be improved if our future leaders and adults, who are todays students, can see legitimacy in a new set of values, family life, honesty, hard work, mutual respect, tolerance, and love, and who can be inspired to see hardships as challenges, and frustrations as opportunities. Only then can we begin to build and nurture a progressive and I daresay, truly CIVIL society.
When we broached the project idea to our five national heroes, their immediate response was an overwhelming, passionate yes. They will tell you more about this. I should also like to add that they have all agreed to participate without payment, as they consider the cause worthy of their time and effort.
I want to say to them, on behalf of our company, our corporate co-sponsors, and the Ministry of Education, how much we appreciate and admire their response to this call to help our children and our country.
Your patriotism and selflessness are truly admirable.