The theme of this year’s September Celebrations was submitted by primary school teacher Sheryl Distan of Belmopan.
by Khaila Gentle
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 14, 2022
Belmopan teacher Sheryl Distan has for a number of years wanted to be a part of selecting the country’s September Celebrations theme, and this month, she achieved that goal after one of her submissions to the National Celebrations Commission’s Theme Competition was selected as the winning entry for this year:
“Valiant and Bold, Proud and Strong, Belize Rebounds at 41.”
The theme was revealed at the Belize City House of Culture this Wednesday by Minister of Education, Culture, Science & Technology, Hon. Francis Fonseca alongside Belize City mayor Bernard Wagner. And the woman who came up with it was given the opportunity to explain to a small group of invited guests her creative process:
“From the moment I saw the flyer for the competition, I took out a notebook and I silently said to myself ‘I want to be a part of this’. So I began—every time something would come to my mind, I would write, I would scratch. And I said, ‘I need to get it in before I forget’,” she said.
According to the interim President at the National Institute of Culture & History (NICH), Merlyn Young, the winning theme was chosen from a total of four hundred and twenty-six entries. A subcommittee from the National Celebrations Commission (NCC) looked at each submission and then selected thirteen entries for final review.
Distan explained that she had submitted a total of seven entries. Her winning entry, for which she will be receiving a prize of $1,000, was inspired by the National Anthem as well as Belize’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” she said.