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Public Speaking champ says students need a voice

Public Speaking champ says students need a voice

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Students sometimes feel voiceless, powerless and like slaves to a system they cannot control.

At other times, they feel encaged and unable to escape the monotony of school. But, if Jaykwarn Donald-Payne, a student of the St Vincent Grammar School (SVGS), ever becomes a principal, he will introduce rules, structures and programmes to combat these feelings.

The SVGS student is the winner of the 27th Lions Club South FLOW Secondary Schools Public Speaking Competition and on Wednesday, October 25, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, he presented his manifesto, in the event that he becomes a principal.

That manifesto earned Donald-Payne the award for presenting the best student prepared topic in the three-category competition. He also won the best general prepared category en route to the top spot.  

Addressing a packed Methodist Church Hall, Donald-Payne said education is undeniably important, but students leave the comforts of their homes every day to endure a system that hardly inspires them to fulfil their goals. He said principals are faced with a challenging task each day, one that often leaves tiredness and frustration in its wake.

“According to the Wallace Foundation, one of the key roles of principals is to

create a climate hospitable to teaching and learning. Chairperson, school administrators in St Vincent and the Grenadines are unable to provide this atmosphere, due to multiple limitations,” said Donald-Payne, who stated that if he were to become a principal, he would ensure that his students and staff are housed in a building of pristine condition.

“No longer will they have to undress in order to combat the heat…sufficient functional fans, or even AC units, will be installed in every classroom. No longer will students and teachers have to endure sitting in mouldy, decaying cubicles, or have germ-infested water fall on them,” said Donald-Payne.

He said as principal, he would urgently fix all leaking roofs and guarantee that there are bins in each classroom, eliminating the prospect of having insects and rodents outnumbering the


Going further, the 2017 public speaking champ said it is imperative that students focus on academics and extracurricular activities; therefore, if he were to become a principal, he would implement a programme that is diversified, where each child is afforded the opportunity to hone his or her creative abilities.

“I will create a Club Day that will get students involved in activities such as: sports, debates, music, dance and drama. Chairperson, my students will not be robots who are only filled

with book knowledge. They will be intelligent, multitalented citizens of society,” stressed Donald-Payne.

He added that one of the major deterrents to students these days is the number of hours they are expected to be in school. He opined that long school hours put pressure on students and interfere with their extracurricular activities, after-school classes, homework and house chores.

“At the end of the day, they are so exhausted, they cannot even sleep well. Hence, if I were to become a principal, I would ensure that the school day is shortened from seven hours to five hours. I would guarantee that students have sufficient time to study, participate in after-school activities, complete assignments and get to bed at a reasonable hour.”

He said while he salutes all the principals and Ministry officials who have been working tirelessly to manage schools, his dream is that one day, teachers and students will dwell in facilities that are environmentally friendly.

“I have a dream that one day, academics and extra-curricular activities will be given equal respect. I have a dream that one day, school days will be reduced to encourage educational and personal productivity. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a dream that will be fulfilled only if I were to become a principal,” stressed the Calder resident.(LC)