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Jun 27, 2018

49 Students Awarded for Doing the Right Thing

We have covered the police initiative, Du Di Rait Ting, many times in the past. But today’s ceremony was special. Forty-nine students completed the programme; eleven were honored for beating adversity and staying on the right track. While the youths have all experienced challenges, one student from Belize City, has lived through tough times, but came out on top. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Forty-nine high schools students from across the country converged inside the pavilion at Old Belize where they were honored for doing the right thing. The Du Di Rait Ting programme is a community policing initiative that highlights youths who have beaten the odds and overcame challenges. Today, they received certificates and a select eleven were singled out as the top students in the programme.

 

Jason Jones

Cpl. Jason Jones, Coordinator, Du Di Rait Ting

“Today was the culmination of a yearlong exercise where we were awarding monthly submissions and today was the national award ceremony where we awarded not only the monthly submissions but the top ten students from across the country.  Lot of times, students have struggles in life but they are not recognized for the troubles and tribulations they’ve overcome. So the Du Di Rait Ting programme is one way of the police department telling them you know what, we understand what you’ve gone through and we want to applaud you, we want to reward you for doing the right thing.”

 

Duane Moody

“Are these persons particularly at-risk youth within the society?”

 

Cpl. Jason Jones

“I wouldn’t say at-risk, but there is a cross section of students from across the country. So some are at-risk and some are not; but the Du Di Rait Ting Programme follows eight criteria that each submission has to meet. So once you fall under the criteria, then your name can be submitted.”

 

Majority of the submissions were from Belize City high schools due to the number of institutions in the municipality. They were recommended either by a principal, a counselor or a community policing officer. First place went to Sonia Gutierrez, a second form student at Edward P. Yorke High School in Belize City; originally from Punta Gorda, her story caught the attention of the selection committee.

 

Sonia Gutierrez

Sonia Gutierrez, Du Di Rait Ting Awardee

“Everything began when I was about five and MJ’s burnt down so we ended up at Child Care for a couple of months. From there, my father came and took me to PG; I faced some couple of things down there. I came back here and I started to have problems with my family, but along the way I still didn’t make my family issues get in the way of my education. I still came in top in my primary school; I became the valedictorian of my primary school. Continued high school at E. P. Yorke and I thought it would be the school to challenge me and it was. So I topped EP Yorke in first form and here in second form, here I am today.”

 

Second place went to twenty-three-year-old Luis Escobar of Escuela Secundaria Técnica México in San Roman, Corozal. A former high school dropout turn entrepreneur, Escobar says that he returned to school couple years ago and is proving naysayers wrong.

 

Luis Escobar

Luis Escobar, Du Di Rait Ting Awardee

“I come from a humble family. I drop out from school since 2012; I stop school for five years during which I was struggling about life and I was getting aware of what is life out there. And then I notice that it is difficult to be out there without studies, so I found something to do for me.  I started a barbershop and tattooing as you can see. And after getting tattoo, society started to discriminate me, started to judge me and say I was a bad person by the way I look and stuff like that. I am a person against bullying and criticism. So I struggled to get back to studies and I started to do volunteer work with Ministry of Health and showing youths that it is never too late to get back to school.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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