POND ISLAND – On Tuesday February 21st, 2017 the Department of Culture in collaboration with the SG of UNESCO, Ms. Marcellia Henry, hosted the first annual S’Maatin International Mother’s Language Day competition. The competition consisted of students from the St. Maarten Academy/PSVE, and the Charlotte Brookson Academy. The students were divided into two categories; Poetry and Skit/Storytelling.
The competition required the students, using the S’Maatin English, read either stories and poems or some form of narration. The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, attended the well put together event and commended the students for using the mother language of S’Maartin. “The S’Maatin English is our heritage. There is a time and a place for formal and colloquial speech, however, tonight is the night to use the S’Maatin English,” Minister Jacobs added.
Knowing, writing and speaking in one’s mother language is an essential tool for the transmission and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Therefore, this year it was sought out to highlight our very own local and mother tongue language ‘S’Maatin English’ in order to increase awareness and inspire pride in our oral traditions, history and cultural expressions.
The general public was also given the opportunity to utilize the open mic session and recite poems and stories using the S’Maatin language.
The finalists/winner from the Poetry category:
1st place: Aiyaunty Romney (Charlotte Brookson Academy)
2nd place: James Brooks (St. Maarten Academy)
3rd place: Ingemar Arndell (St. Maarten Academy PSVE)
The finalists/winner from the Skit / Story Telling category:
1st place: Kiana Senol Arrindell (St. Maarten Academy)
2nd place: Group St. Maarten Academy PSVE: Ingemar Arndell, Malaika Clarke & Jodian McDonald
3rd place: Ronalie Smith (St. Maarten Academy)
The House of Nehesi Publishers also donated books to the participants of the competition as well as all the open-mic reciters. The event was judged by Brenda Maynard, Lucinda “La Rich” Audain, and Sjorensly Valies and hosted by Rene Violenus.
The S’Maatin English Poetry/Storytelling/Narration Competition will become an annual event to be organized by the Department of Culture and the UNESCO Office.