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Our hopes for Bermuda

At a recent Sandys Rotary meeting two young students — Nathanael Fubler and Jashae Allen-Lamontagne — spoke about their lives, their hopes and their fears.

Present was businessman and former Premier Sir John Swan who forwarded their speeches to

The Royal Gazette. He said: “I had the good fortune of being present at Sandys Rotary Club when the two students gave their presentation on how they saw Bermuda and their lives. I thought there was a profound message contained therein and encouraged them to share it with the whole of Bermuda.”

Here are the speeches they gave.

Jashae Allen-Lamontagne, 13

My name is Jashae Allen-Lamontagne. I am 13 years old and I am currently the head girl at Sandys Secondary Middle School. Also, I attend the First Baptist Church in Devonshire. In the future, I hope to attend the Berkeley Institute.

I am undecided on my future career, but some of my interests include electronic technology, art, animation and music. Some of my future aims and goals in education would be to graduate from high school and later attend college, preferably, the University of Oxford, the Savannah College of Art Design or the New England Institute of Technology. My extra-curricular activities include CTY, sports, piano lessons, drum line, girl guides, the Sandys Rockers band, martial arts, gymnastics and maybe more in the near future. Although I participate in many activities, I also maintain high honours in school by earning principal’s list, honour roll and passing all classes.

Today I not only represent the school I attend and my family, but also the youth of Bermuda. My Island home is very important to me. In the past I feel Bermuda was no better than it is today. The amount of our social or economic issues may not have been as much as there is today, but issues like gang related activities were still a big problem in our society. I was younger at that time so I wasn’t as concerned about these problems we face on our Island, but I was still aware of them and how much they affected my family members and other people around me.

Presently our Island is not in a state at which most people would want it to be. There has surely been an increase in drug use, gang violence, crimes, economic recession and many other social or economic troubles. These make it harder to get the young and confused back on the right path and into a positive learning environment. The struggles also result in a social environment where people are out of work and the cost of living is higher. We want children to feel safe as they walk home from school or when they decide to make a bit of money by packing groceries. We don’t want them to think that there will be yet another shooting if they travelled to the other end of the Island. These problems affect people in Bermuda, especially Bermuda’s youth.

In the future, we all want Bermuda to be a successful and safe environment for us as young people. As young people, we want to grow and develop the skills needed to become the future leaders of our Island, our home, Bermuda. I think that some of the following can be put in place to help Bermuda to become a positive and safe community for the young people: Provide more prevention services for children and young people at risk of dropping out of school; find a way to provide funds for non-profit agencies, skill-training services and counselling services to ensure that these services are being developed more efficiently so that the social concerns can be addressed; also, providing more job opportunities will encourage young adults to get into the workforce and on a path to achieving more.

I would like to thank you for allowing me to share my views and opinions on some of Bermuda’s present problems, as well as my interests and future aims in education. Now I would like to leave you with a Bible verse; Jeremiah 33:3 — ‘Call to me and I will answer to you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Nathanael Fubler, 13

My name is Nathanael Fubler. I am 13 years old and I am the seventh of ten children, being the fourth son of seven sons and three daughters. I am the third of who have had the pleasure to achieve the rank of head boy through Sandys Secondary Middle School. I am also an honours student. I live in the Sandys Parish, approximately five minutes from my school.

Here is a little bit about my past education. Most of the children in my year level went to preschool, I did not, I stayed home with my mother going over flash cards in the morning, eat lunch, go over the colours of the rainbow then we would go to Death Valley playground to play. Soon it was time to pick up my older brother and my older sisters. I then attended Somerset Primary School where the goal to achieve honours was instilled in me. I have been an honours student since primary three.

I now attend Sandys Secondary Middle School where I am in four IGCSE classes which are English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and my favourite Mathematics. My favourite class, out of all the classes I take, is art. I have a passion for designing clothes; that is why art is my favourite subject in school. I plan on becoming a fashion designer or an accountant. I will further my math and art education by going to college and paying close attention in my final years of high school.

Times have changed during my short life. I can remember when the news did not contain details of gang or gun violence. Unfortunately, many young people are involved in this activity and it makes me sad. I am glad that my older brothers do not have to worry about travelling to certain areas and being set upon because they live in the west end of the Island. If the trend of gun violence continues, I am sure that the younger generations will be killed off or imprisoned and this will lead to many other problems. For example, families will have the heartache of losing a loved one, something I know too well, having lost my oldest brother in a road fatality almost seven years ago. Pain like this doesn’t go away.

The economy is a major concern for my generation. My brother Andrew has his Bachelor’s degree and a job, but there are many of his friends who do not have a job, and are having difficulty finding one, even though they too, have a degree. With this in mind, I ask: what does the future hold for me and my classmates when we graduate college in 2021? Are international businesses and the hospitality industry really interested in the future of Bermuda’s young people? Are they willing to tap into our potential and encourage, train, and keep us motivated in our jobs? Also, we young people have to realise that life doesn’t come with a silver spoon. Starting at the bottom is not a bad thing — only when we let ourselves become stagnate and discouraged is! As my mom always says “hard work never killed anyone”.

The future of Bermuda can be helped if all young people accept the adage “bad association spoils useful talents”. We need to be accountable for our choices and not let our parents smooth it over for us. Once a person starts to make excuses for his actions, it continues throughout his life. As I grow to be an adult, my purpose is to become a productive citizen who respects others. I want to be a lifelong learner and not dwell on the past. I must learn from the past, not repeat the mistakes, and work to improve my lot in life. I need to ‘pay it forward’, give to another and one way is to remember LEARN:

Love, Encourage, Attitude, (the right one), Reinforce, and Nurture.

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Published January 28, 2013 at 8:48 am (Updated January 28, 2013 at 8:47 am)

Our hopes for Bermuda

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