~Keeping an eye on the ball for special needs education.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- President of Peridot Foundation Gracita Arrindell states: “ at an event held at the John Larmonie Center on Friday, March 12th, in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022 special honors were bestowed on Ms. Alisha J. Brookes Director and board of Excellence Learning Academy Foundation.”
The program’s main highlights were touching presentations of two well-known local personalities: Educator and poet Ms. Lysanne Charles and Attorney at Law Brenda B. Brookes. Both speakers brilliantly held the attention of the audience with their insights of explaining this year’s IWD theme #BREAKTHE BIAS. The meaning of this year’s theme was further illustrated by their respective personal experiences and effects of biases on their lives as well as on the day to day lives of marginalized people locally and internationally”.
Arrindell continues:” Peridot Foundation appreciates and acknowledges the work of a young foundation its Director Ms. Alisha J. Brookes and board of ‘Excellence Academy Leaning Foundation’ for its work in the field of Special Needs Education.
This Foundation and similar institutions that cater to special needs education need more support and encouragement, thereby making our society a more caring and accepting one in Sint Maarten.”
“Highly motivated, determined, passionate, and humble are a few words describing our Honoree. An Educator by profession currently employed as a Pedagogical worker/instructor at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) a mother and advocate for Special Needs Education is, in brief, a description of Ms. Brookes. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Mohawk College, USA. Taught at the local Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School as a teacher’s assistant for three years while completing her Bachelor's degree in Social & Human studies with a major in Education. Ms. Brookes has a master's degree in Educational Administration that includes several accredited certifications in special needs and special needs education”.
“Equipped with her knowledge and experiences gained, most importantly seeing the need in our community in this area of education, without hesitation took the step to open her own after school educational program for kids ages four to twelve years. In 2017 after school program was forced to shut down when 80% of school equipment and other materials were lost due to the devastation of Hurricane Irma. With her resilience and motivating mindset, she re-opened her afterschool program just one month after at a new location. Armed with three folding tables and eight plastic chairs Ms. Brookes worked her way back and up to serving over ninety students in her after-school educational program.”
Gracita said: “Her aim is to create a safe, healthy, academic program for our special needs student community regardless of the setbacks she encountered made her stand out. The encouragement and support of many parents of children with special needs led her to establish and become the Director of Excellence Learning Foundation that caters to children from infancy to school age, after-school educational development programs for kids ages four to eighteen. In 2018 she opened her special Education Program and Childcare firmly focused on education and advocacy for children and persons with special needs. A young woman who continues to strive for excellence and break- biases in the area of special needs education with love and determination. Ms. Alisha Brookes, a shining example for our community in general and for Special Needs Education in particular is hereby encouraged to continue the good work. Thank you for your services.”
Arrindell concludes: “ special thanks goes out to Charlotte Brookson Academy for the performance Arts performing students: who delighted the evening with the rendition of the Sint Maarten anthem, and beautiful dance and song: Rachel Augusma, Jaydon Samuel, Shevonni Boodram, Jaleena Hendrickson- Brown.
Our gratitude goes out to sponsors Holland House Hotel, Spa impulse, Divico, Kam’s Trading, City Mall store for making this celebration a very memorable one.”