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Suffer little children

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Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. There is perhaps no more sterling endorsement anywhere in any religious or secular philosophy that instructs us on just how much care and love we must extend to our young. We at Searchlight have understood that. We have used our editorial pages to celebrate the outstanding achievements of young Vincentians scholars excelling in the CSEC exams.We have done the same for our young graduates of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. And we have embraced the promise of our young students transitioning from primary schools to secondary schools. {{more}} And we have done so out of an unyielding commitment to the principle that our future as a nation can only be secured through our utter dedication to the training of our youngest minds.

These thoughts bring us to the case of Rhea Ollivierre, the outstanding young lady whose superior performance at the recently concluded Flow Lions Club South Public Speaking Competition we headlined under the banner, “From Mouth Champ to Public Speaking Champ.” At the heart of this story lies a simple truth: that we must maintain our hope in the capacity of our young people to transform themselves from cocooned caterpillars into radiant butterflies. For it is only on the wings of their aspirations that we can fly to new, uncharted, fields of dreams, barely imagined by their parents. If our future is a Promised Land, it is our children who must take us there.

In our story on Rhea, however, we also seek to draw attention to an area of talent too often overlooked in our young: their ability to speak with strength and clarity on the many issues which they will confront over their lifetime. Excellence in oral communication is a skill that is necessary, teachable, and in short supply in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It requires the speaker to be able to read, to think, to understand, and to establish empathy with the listener(s). Indeed, more than 2000 years ago, the Roman rhetorician, Cicero, recognized the value of public speaking and created the first instructional manuals on mastering this art.

We, therefore, offer special commendation to Flow and the Lions Club South in hosting this event. We commend as well all of the schools that lent support to the event. But above all, we congratulate all of our young people who took part in this event. Our future will be brighter because of them.

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