The Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School has scored another victory yet again. This time it was at the recently held annual Junior Achievement award ceremony where the school walked away with two honours, “achiever of the year,” and “highest returns on investment”. These awards have quite rightly made Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School (SCSS) quite proud, a school that has attempted to diversify its education programme to offer more than just academics. Junior Achievement (JA) is one such programme, allowing students to participate in business activities within their schools by setting up small companies within a set period of time. The SCSS JA business idea was the production of fashion bows for students.
According to JA teacher advisor at the school, Delia Herelle, the programme is something that has been a part of the school now for about ten years. “During that period we won top achiever three consecutive years. However we took a break after a while but decided to participate again during this cycle of the programme,” Herelle told the STAR. This, on the advice and prodding of the retired vice principal of the school. “He urged me to get back involved as this was something really good for the children,” she adds.
And on the strength of this backing she took the plunge once again, with a company of nineteen form three students that is. “It was somewhat challenging at first getting the entire group to have that commitment but with the hard work put in by the president Phebe Alexander it all worked out well in the end,” she says. Asked how important she feels a programme like Junior Achievement is, without hesitation she replied “very important” and went on to explain: “It provides the children involved with lots of life skills that can go a long way. The children learn leadership skills, management skills, how to work in a group and cooperation. They are also taught about production and how to organise and keep financial records.
“Further, in the past we have had students involved in JA who have graduated from this school. When I do meet some of them they are keen to tell me that they have their own small business and how JA has helped them. I feel really proud that we are able to impact the children with something as positive as this.”
Additionally she is also elated at the success of the school this year and thinks that it is an achievement that should be celebrated by not just the group, but the entire school as well as the community of Soufriere.
JA St Lucia is a non-profit organisation as a project of the St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, under the patronage of the Governor General Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy and a Board of Directors. It is licensed as a franchise of Junior Achievement Worldwide which seeks to engender entrepreneurial skills among students.
(For more on the president of the SCSS Junior Achievers, turn to page 21)