Students Take Part in HUSH Symposium
Students from some primary, secondary and special needs schools across the island participated in the eighth annual HUSH Children’s Symposium, held at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) headquarters in downtown Kingston, on Thursday (May 17).
The aim was to encourage the students to make positive choices that will enrich their lives and benefit them in the years to come.
The symposium was staged under the theme ‘Charges, Chances, Changes’. It explored several sub themes, among them sexuality and sexual abuse, risky behaviours, disability equality and accessibility.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Alando Terrelonge, who brought greetings on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the symposium is a valuable resource that helps to guide youth to make positive choices for better outcomes.
“I must commend the IOJ, in particular the Programmes Coordination Division, for playing its role in helping to affirm our youth through the programmes offered and through other enrichment opportunities, such as this one,” he said.
Director of the Programmes Coordination Division for the IOJ, Jacqueline Bushay, said the forum provided a platform for students to share the challenges they face.
“Sometimes our youngsters get involved in illegal activities, for which they are charged, sometimes out of ignorance. The symposium shows them how to stay on the straight and narrow. We provide them with information, and by being armed with the information, we hope they will use it to make a change,” she added.
The symposium also featured testimonials from persons who have overcome their challenges, exhibitions by educational institutions, and an open session where participants expressed their concerns.
Ninth-grade student of Bridgeport High, Marques McDonald, who aspires to be a pilot, said he enjoyed the interactive nature of the symposium and encourages his peers to adhere to the guidance provided through the symposium.
“It is better to listen to adults at the moment, because they know better,” Marques said.
Meanwhile, student from Cedar Grove Academy in St. Catherine, Danielle Wizard, said the presentations were motivational.
“I would use their presentations to help my fellow schoolmates to understand that school is very important and your education is very important, and the time-wasting and idling doesn’t really work out, because you are going to need education to move ahead in life,” she said.
Participating schools included Danny Williams School for the Deaf, Bridgeport High, Ferncourt High, Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf, Greater Portmore High, Windward Road Primary and Junior High, Cedar Grove Academy, Excelsior High and Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf.
The HUSH symposium is endorsed by the Ministry and the National Child Month Committee (NCMC).