Eight Mile Rock High Blue Jays’ D’asia Russell won the Junior Minister of Tourism Speech Competition on Thursday, which was held at the Manor House, Hoffman’s Cay Room at the Grand Lucayan Resort.
Eight students from high schools on Grand Bahama between Grades 10 and 12 (14 to 17-year-olds) presented their speeches on the topic ‘Strengthening Cultural Heritage for Tourism Growth’ with the hope of being awarded the title Junior Minister of Tourism for Grand Bahama.
Chivvaun Smith, Marketing Representative for the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Grand Bahama said, “The Junior Minister of Tourism Program is a national competition highlighting talent among our nation’s students, while helping them to further develop skills and competencies from exposure to the tourism sector.”
Smith explained that entrants are expected to come with strong communication and interpersonal skills and an interest in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
She added that the winner, Russell, “will now go on to the second stage of the competition in New Providence to compete for the title of Junior Minister of Tourism of The Bahamas”
The eleventh grader at Eight Mile Rock High School (EMRHS) is now the Junior Minister of Tourism for Grand Bahama and after the announcement was made, the cheers from her peers were deafening.
“I feel excellent, I put in the hard work and it paid off,” Russell said.
The new Jr. Minister noted that her coach and teacher Trevor Johnson told her to, “Eat, sleep and dream the speech; put away your phone and learn the speech.”
Russell admitted that she is very excited about the experience she is about to have as she works with the MOT.
Ivan Butler, Principal at EMRHS shared that he is very proud of Russell and the victory for the Blue Jays. “It speaks wonders to all of the great things going on at Eight Mile Rock High School,” he added.
The EMRHS principal went on to say that Russell will be representing in the capital and great things are expected from the student.
Second place went to Chardae Adderley of Mary, Star of the Sea Academy and third to Nicholas Burrows of St. Georges High School.
Those vying to become the 2017 Minister of Tourism for Grand Bahama were: Nataniel Brown, Jack Hayward Senior High School; Delvonae Beckles, Sunland Baptist Academy; Chardae Adderley, Mary, Star of the Sea Academy; Ariah Rolle, St. Paul’s Methodist College; D’asia Russell, Eight Mile Rock High School; Sabrina Brown, Lucaya International School; Kamrin Moss-Roker, Bishop Michael Eldon; and Nicholas Burrows, St. Georges High School.
Gabriele Josephs was the MC for this year’s competition after having successfully captured the title last year. Josephs was not only the Junior Minister of Tourism for this Island, but was successful in the national competition too, becoming the Junior Minister of Tourism for The Bahamas. In addition, Josephs competed in Barbados and made history for The Bahamas when he won the title Jr. Minister of Tourism for the Caribbean.
Josephs’s reign as Junior Minister for The Bahamas came to an end Thursday when Russell won the local competition, however he retains his Caribbean title until September this year.
“Today was a bitter sweet one for me as I have had some of my most fundamental experiences this last year, so to give up this title is a bitter moment. It was great to hear what my peers are presenting and to see who goes on to take my place,” Josephs recalled.
The former Jr. Minister told Russell to remember she has a team, a Ministry and a country that is waiting on her ideas, and waiting to hear what she has to say – “so lean forward, your journey is just beginning.”
Karenda Swain, Assistant Manager for the MOT, Grand Bahama stated that this year’s competition was extremely tough, as all of the competitors spoke well. Acknowledging Thursday’s competition had the eight finalists as each school originally had two speakers on March 8 during the first round of the preliminary speech competition. Swain noted the competition was extremely close after the interview section.
Russell now goes on to the National competition, which will be held in New Providence on April 6 at the Breezes Resort, Cable Beach.
Published Friday, March, 17, 2017