Several Grade 4, 5 and 6 students met their classroom champion, Grenada’s decathlon Olympic athlete, Kurt Felix, during his 2nd visit, for the Ask Listen Learn (ALL) Programme – a programme aimed at curbing underage alcohol consumption and promoting healthy lifestyles.
“There’s so much opportunities out there for you and the decisions you make as young kids are going to influence the outcome, so we have to encourage you every day to make those types of decisions that will get you there,” Felix said during the closing ceremony.
On 6 June, the athlete met with ministry officials and visited 2 primary schools in St George, as part of the closing activities for the 3rd phase of the ALL programme. These activities culminated on 7 June.
“We trust that the teachers will be as passionate as we are, in terms of helping our students to recognise the importance of not getting involved in drugs and drug use,” Aaron Francois, Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and The Environment, said at the official opening ceremony.
The schools involved in this phase of the ALL programme were the St George’s Methodist, the Blessed Sacrament RC and the Telescope Primary schools.
Hermoine Baptiste, Health and Family Life Officer, in the Ministry of Education, explained that, “This programme is designed to alter students’ attitude about peer pressure and alcohol drinking, to increase their knowledge about how alcohol can negatively affect a growing body and brain.”
During the various closing ceremony activities, students performed choral speaking pieces, songs and poetry to demonstrate their increased awareness of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. In a performance at Telescope Primary School, students cautioned, ‘Give us things to build our lives, like fruit juice, hot meals and exercise. Don’t even give us alcohol in disguise.’
During St Paul’s Government School’s performance of “Red Alert” by Malaika Mitchell, students warned, ‘The problems of alcohol you will see. Ask the young girl with her eyes black and blue. Ask her, what happened to you?’
The Blessed Sacrament RC School’s performance noted various negative results of unchecked alcohol consumption. A line from their choral speaking piece: ‘I’ve caused millions of accidents and wrecked more homes than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes put together.’
Dr Patrick Antoine, Chairman of the Regional Beverage Alcohol Alliance, told students that, “The knowledge about alcohol and the decisions you make went up by 10%, so this is having a positive impact.”
Certificates and bags bearing the ‘Classroom Champions’ logo of the ALL programme were distributed to students who participated. Some students received autographs from Felix.
During the official closing ceremony, Dave Alexander, Drug Avoidance Officer in the Ministry of Education, said, “What we know is that if a person does not begin drug use by age 18, research has shown it is hardly likely that person would ever begin drug use, and that’s why we focus a lot on these types of programmes at the primary level.”
Due to the positive response and feedback from Ask Listen Learn, the programme is expected to continue being implemented in Grenada.