Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019. 10:03 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: For fourteen years, the Belize Police Department’s “Du Di Rait Ting” program has sought out those most inspiring of the younger population, and given them the incentive and encouragement to continue living exemplary lives, even with something as simple as passing along the plates for lunch after Wednesday’s ceremony at Old Belize Jungle Pavilion, as we observed.
First place Cindy Zelaya, a nineteen-year-old from Trio, Toledo District, in the Independence (Intermediate Southern Formation), shared her message with her fellow youths.
“With all of my struggles, I [put] my mind to it that I would continue to work hard…I would like them to know that in life nothing is impossible; it is possible to do anything in life. With all the struggles you’ve been through, you have to keep your head high and continue doing what you to do in the future.”
22-year-old Gessica Pop, from Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo District, will graduate this year from Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School, having started at 18. “At first, I couldn’t go to high school after graduating primary school because of the financial situation of my family; and I didn’t have the help of my dad because my mom passed away when I was six years old. I had to struggle a lot in life; my brother was the only one who took care of me with my sister-in-law. So I never lost hope that one day I was going to have an education,” she said.
She won a working scholarship and was honor roll in her first year. She now plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education.
According to the national coordinator of the program, Police Corporal Jason Jones, stories like these were not only tear-jerking but difficult to separate in selecting the top ten prize-winners. Awardees are nominated monthly by their respective schools and mentors.
Zelaya took home a Ministry of Education scholarship for two years; a laptop computer sponsored by Belize Natural Energy; and a year’s worth of data from Digi/Belize Telemedia Limited.
Pop has a scholarship to attend Sacred Heart Junior College in San Ignacio and a laptop from the Development Finance Corporation.
Third place Darrell Gentle won a laptop from Fultec Systems, and fourth to tenth place won cash prizes.
Deputy Police Commissioner Edward Broaster, substituting for Commissioner Chester Williams, said the young men and women honored yesterday volunteered in their communities, stayed away from negative influences, and excelled in school.
But he wants to see more done for youth between 14 and 21 who are not in school, suggesting a national service program by the Government.
He also suggested inviting back past honorees of the program for its fifteenth anniversary next year.
The guest speaker was Jahmor Lopez from The Ministry of Education.
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