300-plus enrolled in JA, meet for orientation

by: Mia Whylly, News Reporter - Published Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Despite a delay in commencing the Annual Youth Development Program, Junior Achiever (JA) were anxious and excited about the start of the 2016-2017 year, when they attended the Orientation Saturday morning at the Bishop Michael Eldon School (BMES) Auditorium. 


Ronald Dames, JA Grand Bahama Program Director shared with The Freeport News, during the Orientation exercise, that over 300 students are enrolled in the program on the island with a huge waiting list, they are unfortunately, unable to accommodate, due to lack of resources and sponsors.


Noting this year’s theme ‘Solving Tomorrow’s Problems Today,’ Dames said, it was an ideal time during Saturday’s Orientation to split the students into four groups and present them with a challenge related to the new theme.


“In their group we asked them, as young persons, ‘what project could you embark on to lift this community after such a devastating hurricane?’ 


“We are very curious to see what they come up with, as it is extremely important our young folk play a pivotal role in our recovery – using their ideas, hearing their voices – they are, after all our future leaders,” Dames added.


The JA Director emphasized to the students the need to be more involved in the community this year. 


“The students and advisors are very happy that JA will begin next week, despite the delay. There is now more opportunities for entrepreneurship than before the hurricane,” Dames noted.


Noting that the young folk have so much to offer the community, Dames encouraged more sponsors to step up and allow the program to expand from the 300 students already involved. 


“We can surpass any of the 10.5 million in JA across the world, Bahamians are creative people. With the teamwork instilled through JA and the leadership that comes from within these companies, these young folk can be involved in some major projects,” Dames concluded.


JA Grand Bahama Chairman, Donald Glass said that although Hurricane Matthew affected the whole island psychologically and in other ways, the coordinators’ mission at the JA Orientation, on Saturday, was to bring the spirit back up.


“No matter how many challenges there are we cannot dwell on them, we must move forward. He told the students they have tremendous spark and not to let anyone dampen it. They cannot allow Hurricane Matthew and the damages to stop them,” Glass said.


Chelsea Williams, a senior at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy (MSSCA) shared being very excited as she enters her fourth year as a Junior Achiever. 


“This will be my last year in the program and I want to be the Most Distinguished Achiever and hopefully, get a scholarship,” Williams stated.


The high school senior shared that JA has impacted her life tremendously and taught her many life skills.


“My four years in JA have been a great experience and I would encourage everyone to join. I am very excited and look forward to meeting all the new people in our company, because working together is rewarding and teaches one patience,” Williams said.


The four-year JA participant shared her wish to be President of her company and is preparing a portfolio for that position.


Tatiana Malcolm, a student at St. Georges said, she is joining JA for the first time on the advice of all of her friends.


“I always wanted to join JA, but now I am done with my BGCSEs and have more time I am joining in my final year of high school. My friends all love JA and they talk about how it teaches you to be an entrepreneur,” Malcolm added.


The first-time JA participant shared that she hopes to learn how to manage her own business and how to not only save, but also make money.


“Most importantly, I feel I will learn responsibility. I am very excited and am eager to meet my company. I expect it will be a great experience,” Malcolm stated.


Advisor for one of the local JA groups, Thrupthy Krishnan said, she was very excited to meet the students and go over the rules, dress code and calendar; while encouraging the students to consider producing a product that is needed post- Hurricane Matthew. 


“I was involved in JA in Southern Connecticut and although it is quite different here in The Bahamas, I am excited to meet all the students from all the schools,” Krishnan shared.


The Advisor noted how difficult it will be this time for the Junior Achievers to get their supplies since items are not as readily available on island as in the past and also due to funding being more limited than in previous years.


This year’s JA sponsors are: Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Grand Bahama Shipyard, Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), Buckeye Bahamas Hub (formerly BORCO), Polymers International, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), PharmaChem Technologies, and the National Insurance Board of The Bahamas (NIB).


Published  Tuesday, November 8, 2016 


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