We have been following the Police Department’s honors for high school students who have met the requirements for the “Du Di Rait Ting” program. Today the national awards were held. We hear more from Acting Commander of Community Policing, Inspector Dehanne Augustine.
“Today marks another milestone in our young people’s life. Today we celebrate 39 countrywide winners for the ‘Du Di Rait Ting’ Program. This is our 9th Annual Awards Ceremony. This could not have happened without our business partnerships and our schools with our Police Officers. The ‘Du Di Rait Ting’ Program came about nine years ago, where the former Commissioner Mr Westby went abroad and saw this program. During that time we had our young people being highlighted in the media being negative. Young people being shown on television being negative, they were promoting that you have to be on TV if you do something negative. So, Mr Westby decided [to] adopt the program from the U.S., and we Belizeanize the program as ‘Du Di Rait Ting’ Program. For the past nine years we have been working closely with the Ministry of Education, the police department, and the business community.”
Of the 39 total winners, a top ten were selected by a national selection board for special recognition. One of those is Eden SDA graduate Kaylin Jimenez, who lost her mother to gun violence mere months after reconciling with her following their separation as a result of physical abuse. For someone who has been through so much, she says she never gave up on herself.
“I feel proud of myself because there were many obstacles that I faced, but I never gave up, and I’m proud of myself to be here right now. There were many obstacles that I faced, starting with my mother who was an alcoholic person. She would always physically and mentally abuse me. Although I went through that, it was hard for me, but I encourage other youths out there to never give up, although there are obstacles that we face in life, but that doesn’t mean that we will put our dreams aside. Just live up and continue with your dreams, and never give up.”
From Belize City, Edward P. Yorke’s Zipporah Taylor told us that finishing second provides even more motivation.
“I feel great to be second place. I didn’t know I would be second place winner. This really gives me the courage to press on, because this is a real good feeling for me. In both second and third form at Edward P. Yorke High School, I wasn’t all focussed in school. Since I got in ‘Du Di Rait Ting’ Program, I decided I want a bright future. I want to be like those people who drive those big cars and all that. I decided that it’s time that I stopped playing, and make up my mind that if I want a bright future, I have to work for it.”
ZepporahTaylor moves on to business studies at the University of Belize. Wednesday’s winners took home scholarships and attractive prize packages from the various sponsors of the program.