The graduation ceremony for the Education Ministry’s Laventille / Morvant School Improvement Project (LMSIP) vacation music camp was a lively, energetic affair, as the students of three schools showed off the skills learned over a four-week period.
The event took place on Wednesday last week at the Government Campus Plaza's auditorium, Richmond Street, Port of Spain.
The ceremony featured vocal and instrumental presentations by students from St Barbs Government Primary School, Morvant Laventillle Secondary School, and Success Laventille Primary School who took part in the camp in July.
Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian said the project began as an intervention exercise to support the growth and development of a number of schools in that area.
“There is now an opportunity to continue the project with a targeted focus using community recovery operational framework. You see, we have a vision of developing and supporting the potential of every student through academics, sports, art, history and cultural heritage.
“We expect that our students will be empowered to flourish into inspired, confident and creative learners. I would say this camp has accomplished this goal.”
She said she was proud the students learned not only to perform, but also learned about TT’s history, and they would be featured in TT’s 60th anniversary of Independence celebrations.
Morris-Julian said as a former teacher with some background in the performing arts, she understood the tremendous lifelong benefits of the visual and performing arts.
“Apart from being part of our national curriculum, the arts can do wonders for our mental and physical health, and may spark interest in viable and self-sustaining art careers for adults and teens alike.
“I believe strongly that the VAPA (visual and performing arts) aspect would help with discipline and concentration. Luckily for me, I have a supportive team at the ministry and they made it happen.
“The children have responded to the programme, their work is getting better academically, there is a correlation and we would like to expand the programme.
“Every single space is supposed to have a VAPA element, but we are using this a little differently. We’re using it as part of discipline, as part of the academic process, so it’s working.”
Education Ministry curriculum coordinator Dr Josephine Torrel-Brown said the goal of the camp was to empower students and to increase their self-esteem. She shared a concept called the experience economy, which speaks to businesses using the elements they have to give customers an experience.
“It is all about having fun, enjoyable moments. We have used that concept in education, giving students opportunities to have fun and experience having enjoyment, and have an experience that they would be willing to learn and remember.
“There’s also another concept called edutainment – combining education and entertainment, so our students are learning, they are involved in education, but they are entertained and they are entertaining.”
She said at each school there was a vocal camp and an instrumental camp, so the students were taught to use their speaking voices and to play musical instruments. They were also taught musical literacy including notation, reading, and writing; numeracy and literacy, including reading, writing, and mathematics; and performance.
“They would have learned skills and techniques for playing different instruments. Included in the programme was music appreciation, a bit of music history of the different genres they would have been exposed to – spoken word, chutney, calypso, – and care and maintenance of instruments.
“One of the most important aspects of the programme was morals and values. So our students learned about patriotism, how to love their communities, their nation, how to love and appreciate our national instrument, a sense of team spirit as the students had to work together.
The students were presented with certificates, and the most outstanding students were awarded musical instruments.
The tutors, drawn from the multi-cultural music programme unit, were Jehiah Hope, Dwayne Frederick, Natasha Joseph and Khari Codrington.
At Success Laventille Secondary, the participating students were Alithia Baird, Andreus Languedoe, Colt John, Genelle Jack, Michaela De Leon, Mikel Clauzel, Nathaniel Lawrence, Sumia Richards, and Vincroy Kirby. The vocal and instrumental camps were combined.
Participating students at St Barb’s Instrumental Club were Jeniah Amaroso, Jeneal Cupid, Keston Durity, Takeem Guy, Lithany Hall, Joshua John, Jordan Julien, Kenwin Maundy, Naomi Phillips, Shadiya Quacoo, Shanicua Quacoo, Jaheem Stewart, and Dylan Wilson.
St Barbs Vocal Club students were Aaliyah Samuel, Akili Roberts, Akiyah Roberts, Josephine Chedu, Kael Victor, Madison Robertson, Mikita Ragis, Rebecca King, Steven Edwards, Tamika King, Tyla Jules, and Tyron George.
At Morvant Laventille Secondary School, the participating students were Alicia Keil, Antion Jacobs, Basil Foye, Brandy James, Jalen Euin, Jalissa Francois, Justyn Sawyer, Malachi Glasgow, Miguel Garcia, Rau’l Banfield, Tamara Williams, Thomas McKenzie, and Utika Hanson.