By L.K. Hewlett
Independence Square came alive last Friday as scores of children ranging from Primary to High School levels, milled about the various exhibits at the Junior Achievement Programme Trade Fair.
Adults too were intrigued with the various displays and quite a few could be seen purchasing products from the young entrepreneurs.
At the opening ceremony, sponsors, co-ordinators and ECCB representatives made brief presentations including Minister of Education, The Honourable Sam Condor, who gave the announcement speech detailing the involvement of the his ministry in the Junior Achievement Programme.
Six of the Federation’s high schools participated in the Trade Fair; Cayon High – Team Scholastic Holdings, Basseterre High- Team Amizah TJ’s Productions, Sandy Point High- Team J.A.S.P, St. Theresa’s Convent School- Team Locally Yours, Verchilds High- Team Bright Star INK, and Gingerland Secondary School- Team Unique Creations. The teams consisted of students from the top classes of the third and fourth forms of the participating schools.
With the ECCB spearheading the introduction of the Junior Achievement Programme here in St. Kitts, representatives were present at the fair to help co-ordinate and organise the event. Youlouca Armony-Browne, a member of the of the programme’s advisory committee, expressed her pride in the participating schools.
“The students came out very early to set up their tents. They have so far shown initiative, teamwork and discipline in carrying out their Junior Achievement Programme projects. The fair got off to a late start due to the weather but we expect things to pick up around mid-day when the kids are at lunch and later today when people get off work,” Browne said.
Gingerland Secondary School — participants in the programme for the fist time — chose to make greeting cards and decorative candles for their business project. The 24-member team held movies, and bake sales to raise capital to get their business started.
“This is our first time doing this and although things didn’t always go smoothly, the team has done well, especially here at the Trade fair,” said Cacelia Stanley, a student at G.S.S.
For their business project Sandy Point High’s 11 members designed T-shirts and sold colourful local art that a past student had painted. The students thought it was slow going but it was their first time participating and they had very high expectations. The team said they learnt that starting and operating a business was no easy task and it took a lot of hard work and dedication for any venture to be successful.
The 20-member team of the Cayon High sold services as well as products for their business project. They provided peer-peer-tutoring sessions at their school, along with the sale of self-made greeting cards and educational CDs. At the fair they had a student doing manicures and other nail work at their tent, which went over very well with the female teenagers and adults present at the Square.
“We started our project a bit late due to communication problems within the group and initially, a lack of team work,” said Rholensha Henry of the 4A1 class, “but the fair has given us a chance to make a lot of sales so we can increase our overall profits.”
Verchilds High — another first timer to the project — was the clear underdog with only nine members. Shayana Osbourne, secretary for their project, related some of the challenges the team encountered while starting a business.
“At first we could not decide on what business to start as everyone had their own ideas. We raised funds to get start up money to create scented candles, bookmarks and candy bags by holding raffles, and selling food at school. Even if we don’t win it has been a rewarding experience. We learned how important it is to be organised and to work together.” she commented.
BHS’ 14-member team has been carrying out their business venture since January this year. The students were busy selling personalised T-shirts and teddy bears at their tent and commented that the fair was exciting and it provided a good opportunity to get exposure and sales. The previous BHS team had received the award for the team with the highest profits last year and this year’s team is aiming to win over all.
St. Theresa’s Convent School team hopes to carry on the winning legacy with their current business project. After winning three out four awards for their Junior Achievment Programme project last year, this year’s team hopes its 19 members can walk away with all four awards for their venture of selling hand crafted jewellery.Davima Broadbelt, teacher at the school, felt the students had made an excellent choice for their project.
“The jewellery was made by the students themselves and they promote our culture as they are made from shells, beads and other local materials.” Broadbelt said. “The students have been selling at school during off time, at PTA meetings, and they set up stalls around town on Saturdays. They usually get all of their products sold each time they go out, and the fair will be no exception.”
The local branch of the Junior Achievement Programme was launched in the Federation in 2005 and endeavours to have all high schools on both islands become participating members.
Junior Achievement Worldwide is the world’s largest non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to educating young people about the values of free enterprise, business and economics through its Junior Achievement Programmes.
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