Class Four students of the Charles F Broomes Primary School have been urged by Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne to give of their best when they enter secondary school in September.
The 93 students to whom she gave the advice were graduates of the 10-week programme of the Royal Barbados Police Force’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme.
She advised students gathered in the auditorium of the District ‘A’ Police Station to remain focused as they enter a new phase in their lives, and also forewarned them of the challenges and dangers they would encounter, such as peer pressure and drug use. But she told them not to give into negative influences, and remain confident and eager to learn.
“I want you to be enthusiastic at what you have to do. Give it your all, give it your best, whatever you are doing; just try really hard at it….If you are trying hard, others will see you are trying hard and try to help you. If you show no interest, no one shows interest in you, so make sure that you enthusiastically go to school,” Cooke-Alleyne told them.
With 55 per cent of young offenders who go before the courts facing drug charges, the former magistrate lamented that many youngsters were not making the right decisions.
“Life is about choices. There is always a choice and you can choose to do the right thing,” she urged the students.
Cooke-Alleyne also called on parents to be more vigilant and strict, and advised them not to ignore indiscipline, but instead to maintain a firm hand on their charges.
“This is now the serious age when they are changing into puberty and you have to deal with so many issues as they are growing up,” she told them. “Be more observant. If someone says something about your child to you that is negative, find out if it is true or not; don’t just say ‘not my angel, not my star boy’.”
As she noted that only 16 per cent of young offenders had previously participated in extracurricular activities, Cooke-Alleyne recommended that parents encourage their children to get involved in sports and other after-school programmes.
“Let them attend at least one activity, put that energy into that activity. Develop a talent, a career, a scholarship . . . join something. At least one activity, because you find if they are not attending…they are finding themselves in trouble,” cautioned the Supreme Court Registrar.
Also addressing the ceremony, principal Dr Monica Walton reminded students of the power of their actions.
“I implore you to all always think before you act, and think of how others are affected by your actions,” she said in a brief address. “Think about your parents, teachers, friends, other relatives, and your church family, your school family and last of all yourself. I can assure you that if this is done every time, there will be a de-escalation of violence and crime in our schools and our society.”