“Open Letter to All (St Maarten) Students” By Rhoda Arrindell

Dear Student,

It is back to school time again. For some of you, this means, sadly, the end of your vacation, while for others it is the start of a new journey through our educational system.

Some of you would be looking forward to meeting old and new friends, as well as teachers. Some will be starting completely new material and getting acquainted with new surroundings, while others will be continuing the next phase of their education. All of these form part of what we can call an annual back to school ritual.

I wish you the very best as you commence this important period in your lives. Be reassured, however, that you are not alone and that you have a support system that will be there for you if you make use of it.

I am referring, of course to your teachers, who have your interests at heart; your parents who continue to make the sacrifices necessary for you to get a proper and meaningful education; your friends and family, who are there for you; and the community at large, who expect you to do well in school.

Dr. Rhoda Arrindell (RA photo)

Dr. Rhoda Arrindell (RA photo)

Whether you’re in elementary or secondary school or studying at USM or NIPA, here are some tips that could help to make this school year less stressful and more enjoyable for you:


  • Organize and prepare your things from the night before.
  • Get plenty of rest at night because your body and your brains will need it during the day.
  • Can’t fall asleep? Video games keep you awake? Discover a good book (or Kindle) instead.
  • Take good notes in class when the teacher is explaining a subject.
  • Review your notes every day after class; this will make studying for a test much easier.
  • After a test, write down the areas you did not understand.
  • Ask your teacher or instructor to explain the material you didn’t understand.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or classmates who may be better in a subject for help.
  • Talk to your parents or other family members about your day (or evening) at school.
  • Don’t bully other students, and don’t allow yourself to be bullied. Bullying is NOT cool.
  • Respect yourself, your teachers and all school employees, and fellow school mates.

I am sure there are other things you could do to make this school year a very exciting and successful one. As a student, cultivate the habit of asking questions. It is the only way to acquire knowledge. And as they say, reading is FUN-damental: read as much as you can. This does not mean that you should not find time for recreation. Involve yourself with cultural activities. Make time to practice the sports you like regularly. Studies have shown that students who do that perform better in class.

Our whole island is depending on you, and we are all confident that you will do yourself and your family proud.

God bless you and your family. God bless St. Martin.

Yours truly,

Dr. Rhoda Arrindell,
Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs

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