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“Valiant and bold, proud and strong! Belize rebounds at 41!”

Today, this year’s September Celebrations theme was announced. The theme, “Valiant and bold, proud and strong! Belize rebounds at 41” was submitted by Belmopan educator, Sheryl Distan. 

Today, the National Celebrations Commission official announced the theme with much fanfaire. Reporter Vejea Alvares reports. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: “Valiant and Bold, Proud and Strong! Belize Rebounds @ 41!” That is the theme for this year’s September Celebration. The catchy concept was the brainchild of Sheryl Distan, an educator from Belmopan City. According to her, she submitted seven themes but the one that was chosen speaks to the resiliency instilled in the backbones of Belizeans, which has been on display particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sheryl Distan, Competition Winner: “I ended up with seven and I thought that seven was a perfect number. So, with my husband’s help, I managed to send in my entries. I sent it in through my Yahoo address and my Outlook address. I said, “They will get it!” and everyday I would look at my email. Did I get anything from them? Did I get anything from them? And when they finally called me, I missed the call. Then I saw a message. But, this one – I was inspired to do this one because I thought about where we came from and I thought about the National Anthem: Valiant and Bold and I said that’s who we are. Even today, it is still very fitting. Then I said what? We are proud. We are strong. The pandemic caused me to think about this one and I said no, we are making a comeback. We are doing it. This is Belize. This is who we are.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca, who is the Chair of the National Celebrations Commission, spoke about the importance of keeping the competition alive despite the theme, each year, being rather similar. 

Franice Fonseca, Chairman, National Celebrations Commission: “This practice of submitting themes, I think it’s a very good one. I think it’s a very very good one. As we mentioned at the launch, you know, hundreds of Belizeans from across the country participated. We have very young kids who take it on as a school project, to school teachers like Ms. Distan who won this year, to elderly folks, old grandmothers and grandfathers who feel that, you know, this is something that they want to participate in. So I think that it’s absolutely important. I think that it is absolutely valuable. It’s good for our spirit of patriotism.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Belize City Mayor, Bernard Wagner, also underscored the significance of September and spoke about the immense pleasure citizens have expressed in the return of the yearly traditions. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor, Belize City Council: “Today our prized traditions are being reincarnated into a bigger and better ones. Right? Small businesses have rallied, have bounced back. Children are out playing again when they are not in the classrooms. Our adults are outside enjoying those downtimes and guess what? September will be back this year as best as we are able to and as the minister said, “Carnival deh back pon di road.” We are glad to have that back.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The NCC is expected to release the official dates of the September celebrations in the coming weeks. Vejea Alvarez, Love News. 

Distan received one thousand dollars for her submission.