Local businessman Adrian Augier advised students to follow their dreams despite the obstacles, at the recently held Junior Achievement Awards ceremony. The Landmark Events proprietor was the guest speaker at the ceremony that was held to honour those who had excelled in the program that involves students forming and managing companies. Junior Achievement of St Lucia hopes to help young people develop business skills, teamwork and leadership. The program is an initiative of the St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture with the aim of “educating and inspiring young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives.” JA also hopes to help reduce criminal activity and focus young people in a positive direction.
This is the 15th year of the program that has succeeded through the help of sponsors and partners. The ceremony was held fittingly at the Gros Islet Secondary School auditorium as the school won several awards.
For the most part, the guest speaker focused on giving the mostly student audience advice they could use throughout their lives, including saving, building partnerships and being true to their ideas.
The program for this year started off with 14 registered companies. The moderator explained that the student companies reflected the realities of the real business world as some of these JA companies fell on difficult times financially and structurally.
“There were a number of factors which contributed to their failure: lack of interest by some members, too many conflicting school activities, lack of guidance by advisors and sponsors, and of course Tomas, which had a significant impact on all JA programs, and slowed down or even ended some of them. Despite all of these obstacles five of these companies withstood the turbulence and were able to achieve the objectives of the program.”
JA was especially proud of the Court diversion Program (CDP) where the After School Company program was piloted.
Certificates were given to all the participating primary schools before it was on to the awards for the company program.
The Salesperson of the Year award went to Shewana Blanchard from the Creative Ideas company of the Bocage Secondary with school sales in excess of 1000. Bocage also won in the best records category and the highest return on investment. It came as no surprise that the school was named as Company of the Year. In second place for Company of the Year was Grow it Foods, a venture of the Choiseul Secondary School while Multi Services Plus from the Gros Islet Secondary School took third place.
The coveted Achiever of the Year Award went to Kengie John of Vieux Fort Secondary School Campus B who won a Bursary of $3000 and a laptop.
The Governor General’s Award for Innovation, Creativity & Originality was won by the big winner of the day—Bocage Secondary School “for the production of key rings made from soft drinks bottle caps collected after hurricane Tomas. The students made over 200 key rings and coin holders; using zippers and the caps.”
The teachers who advised and monitored students were not forgotten in the awards. The teacher/ advisor of the first place achiever, Ms Yoland Dolcy, received a hamper and certificate.
Other teacher/advisors honoured included Mrs Belizaire of the Gros Islet Secondary School and Mrs Sheryl Brown of the Choiseul Secondary School who both won dinners for two at Sandals. Ms Shirley Alexander of the Court Diversion Program (CDP) won a gift certificate compliments Best Buy. Teacher advisor Agnel Gabriel also won a notebook compliments Best Buy Ltd and dinner for two at rendezvous hotel.
Chairperson of Junior Achievement Jacintha Lee ended the ceremony by thanking all those that made the program possible.