photo: Esther Henry

THE BOTTOM – The first Skills Competition for students from the BES islands – a battle of carpentry skills between students – was done on Saba. Students from St. Eustatius participated, but students of Bonaire were not able to attend.

The battle between the students at Saba Comprehensive and the Gwendoline van Putten School was an intense one. The students from Saba won the competition with 37.8 points, leaving Statia with 34.2 points. Saba will now be participating in the grand competition in the Netherlands in March this year.

Martijn Baptiste explaining the new ‘Servisio Tekniko i Mantenshon Avansa’ program

Saba was represented by three students namely, Marjolyn Thielman, Alexander Deibyram and Dwight Courtar from Saba Comprehensive School (SCS). St. Eustatius was represented by three students, Twrell Hassell, Gerquetn Gibbs, and Arnold Blair of the Gwendoline van Putten School.

The benefits
“This competition is a great initiative to showcase the skills of carpentry from the students out of Saba & St. Eustatius, as well as giving the two islands exposure of the future employees. This is also a part of their final examination preparations”, said by Principal of SCS, Anton Hermans.

Judges based the winner’s final product from the team’s safety dealings, creativity, and timing.

Winning team of Saba. Photo: Esther Henry

“We are encouraging more students to follow their passion within the technical area as 80 percent of students within this area are not from the BES islands. These islands are in great need of this skill as it goes hand in hand with other industries, such as hospitality. I must say the Dutch language sometimes is a problem, however, the students will overcome that with age. The community of Saba and St. Eustatius should continue to encourage their students because this is good for the island and their personal development”, says by Martijn Baptiste, one of the judges.

Female influence
“We made candle holders and birdhouses before and now we have the project of making wooden letters from our initials. This is something that I’m excited about. I would also be proud to represent the island at the next competition as this helps to show my abilities and also show that females can work in this area as well”, said one Pro-Student at SCS.

Mary Thielman, mother of the only female participant representing Saba said, “I’m very proud of my daughter as she can handle every task and is independent. Her contribution to the island is greatly appreciated and if she wins it’s an opportunity to broaden her horizon.”

Tight competition
Saba’s team was confident in their ‘measurements, drilling, cutting, and lap joint’. However, their downfall was combining the pieces due to the nature of the wood and the pressure during the last minutes, said team member Marjolyn Thielman

Statia’s team member Twrell Hassell stated, “We had the advantages of teamwork, and individualistic skills such as the drilling, cutting, measurements and chiseling. Our greatest challenge was adjusting to the workshop’s small equipment as in Statia they are much bigger. We have in mind to donate our product to our school’s hospitality department where students can promote their work.”

By Esther Henry