Point Fortin MP aims to set up scholarship programme

Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards
Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards

A scholarship programme to help talented students who are without the financial wherewithal is soon to be established at the newly commissioned Fanny Village Government Primary School.

Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards Jr told Newsday he intends to initiate the programme later this year.

He also intend to restart the Kennedy Richards senior literacy programme, which his late father, a former councillor. initiated several years ago.

In an interview, Richards said the literacy programme was discontinued for several years because of the pandemic and challenges with space, as classes were held in the less than adequate community centre after a fire in 2015.

Now that the $37 million school has been formally commissioned, Richards said he intends to re-engage the principal, staff and students.

“I will be speaking with the principal, Cheryl Richardson-Rojas, to restart the Kennedy Richards Snr Literacy Day. That is something my dad would have started and I would have continued when I was councillor in that area.

“When the school was burnt, that affected it and covid19 basically stopped it.”

He explained the literacy day tested the entire school population in three components: choral speaking, reading aloud and mental maths.

It was not quite a competition, in that nobody lost.

“Everyone got something for participating and it engaged the entire school population, encouraging them to be public speakers.”

Richards said he was touched by a recent video which went viral on social media in which a young man spoke about his inability to read and write. Through the MLAT programme he was encouraged to do so and now, while not perfect, he is improving daily.

“The young man said he made the video to encourage other young men like himself.

"Many young men fall through the cracks, not because they want to, but because of circumstances. A lot of them just go through life and when they reach age 13-14, they are ashamed to let people know they cannot read or write,and they fall through the crack, finding less than acceptable alternatives for their failure.

“We intend to change that with the Literacy Day and catch some of them before they fall by the wayside.”

On the scholarship programme, Richards said it would be awarded to all-round students who excel in sports, academics and different spheres of education.

“We want them to go further faster, to be examples to their school.”

On the commissioning of the school on Monday, which he missed as he returned from a New York flight shortly before the function, Richards said it was not one of the original schools earmarked for completion.

“That school, which was initially started under the EFCL, which had some challenges, was not on the priority list, but the Prime Minister insisted it be completed. I thank the Prime Minister and Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly for this development.

“It is a good day for Point Fortin. This is the fourth primary school to be opened in my constituency for the past two years – Chatam Government Primary, Southern Central Anglican and Bonasse/Cedros Anglican.

“This MP is working, although people might say differently.”

Saying he wants to leave a legacy in education, Richards used a road-paving analogy to illustrate his point.

“You could pave a road today and it could mash up within a year. But if you give young people the necessary tools to develop themselves, that would be embedded in them for the rest of their lives. After all, they are the future.”

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