On September 21st, Belizeans at home and abroad will be celebrating the jewel’s 32nd year of Independence. Because of the valiant and unyielding efforts of forefathers, the country is today a sovereign and developing nation. So on that day, we not only recognize our Independence, but we also pay homage for nationalists who paved the way. And on Wednesday, the University of Belize held an early say of appreciation at its Belmopan Campus.
Shadel-Dyer Young reports.
It was a red, white and blue affair today at the University of Belize, as the institution observed its annual Patriotic Day. The main ceremony was held in the Jaguar Auditorium, where faculty and students from various local institutions gathered, leaving standing room only. Dr. Priscilla Lopez is one of the coordinators of today’s affair.
Dr. Pricilla Lopez:
“We’re hosting Patriotic Day and it’s an event sponsored by the Faculty of Education of Arts and Student Government. We feel that in addition to catering to academic needs, we ought to take a moment to look at patriots in our country; we ought to honour those who have given out themselves unselfishly, so we are honouring Mr. Ron Garrel and we’re also honouring Mrs. Arcadia Carrillo. We also have competition in both song and poetry and dress; we have the students gathered-we are talking about the need to be cognizant of valuing the country, caring for the country, caring for the self”…
Winner of today’s poetry competition was Olivet Ramos; Ramos wooed and awed the crowd with a colorful ode to the jewel, titled Belize is for Belizeans.
Winner of Poetry at UB- Ms. Olivet Ramos:
“My poem is mostly about mother nature, about how Guatemala wants to take over Belize, but Belize is truly for Belizeans; so, let’s raise our flag, continue eat our food, and embrace our Belizean ‘patrioticness’.
She also nabbed first place in the best dressed competition.
Ms. Olivet Ramos:
“I have this nice Garifuna red outfit, red, white and blue that I think ..okay, I have that Garifuna outfit, and I think that will win. So, I am going for it!
Meanwhile, winner of the song competition Sylvian Neal got the crowd rocking with My Belizean People.
Winner of U.B. song competition-1st Place Sylvian Neal:
“In this song, I talked about when… the date that Belize actually got its independence and the beauty of Belize. I even touched on…like some of the reasons why Guatemala would want our country, our land for its resources, and I just wanted the crowd to really, everyone, as Belizeans to really feel proud and humble that their land, they should take pride in their land and what we have”.
Mikayla Banner, the reigning Ms. Belmopan was one of the day’s dignified guests; she too took part in the best dressed competition and placed second.
Miss Belmopan-Mikayla Banner:
“Well, it was a wonderful experience! It is the first time I have participated in such competition. I’ve done three pageants already and I have the outfits that I have used for the talent and I thought it was a good idea to come out and show what I have. ‘Belize in you, Belize in me, Lend of the Free’ – it might be simple, but it goes beyond what it means. To me, it means we should learn to embrace our patriotism. Show what Belize has to offer, and invite people to experience what we have to offer. Belize is a very unique place and we must embrace it.
Though countless festivities are taking place throughout the country, the University saw it quite in the spirit of patriotism to celebrate Belize’s Independence in their own Jaguar fashion.
Dr. Pricilla Lopez:
I think that we ought to within ourselves, as an educational institution, to take time out with our students, to talk about what it means to be a patriot, to talk about the country, to talk about social issues. Certainly we, as educators and our students, must embrace what it is. This is the season, a time to celebrate and offer our country and those around us, with the best that we can. So the university is bringing our students together, our faculty, and the community
Later in the day, the crowd moved to the entrance of the campus, for an afternoon concert featuring Belizean composers Nello Player and Ernestine Carballo.
For PlusNews, Shadel-Dyer Young.