It was an evening dedicated to the celebration of success as Junior Achievement (JA) hosted its 41st annual Future Unlimited Banquet at the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre last Saturday.Under the theme, Preparing Young People to Succeed in a Global Economy, the event recognised the efforts of the hundreds of students who participated in the various JA after-school programmes during the year.Delivering the feature address was United States ambassador, Beatrice Wilkinson-Welters. The ambassador encouraged the students to learn from the past and focus on creating a better future.
"Wendy Fitzwilliam, Nicole Dyer-Griffith and Mariano Browne are just a few examples of successful people who gained a foundation through JA. Like them, you need to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Success is a life-long journey and as you progress I urge you to remember the words of President Obama when he said that 'we did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it,'" Wilkinson-Walters admonished.Junior Achievement's executive chairman, J Errol Lewis, was pleased with the continued success of the programme.
"Despite the hurdles facing us this year, we have been able to achieve even higher levels of success as demonstrated by the accomplishments of the wonderful young people present here tonight. The only thing that I ask of you is that you recognise the rare opportunity you have been given, and I urge you to give back to the future junior achievers in any way that you can."Lewis also stressed that the ability of JA to make a positive impact on young people has been largely due to the unwavering support of platinum sponsors bpTT, as well as other contributors like First Citizen's Bank, Republic Bank, T&TEC and the US Embassy.
Commenting later on bpTT's longstanding partnership with JA was Corporate Responsibility manager, Ronda Francis."We have supported Junior Achievement since its inception, and our organisations are united in our commitment to education. We will continue to invest in the young people of our nation whether it is in academics, sports, culture, or any endeavour that gives them the opportunity to grow," Francis noted.
Since 1970, JA of T&T has been dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programmes. The students are challenged to learn and apply knowledge in areas such as business management, capital investment, marketing, production and human resource management.The highlight of the banquet was the awards ceremony, where the participants received recognition in a number of categories including best trade fair booth, public speaking, best open house presentation and most innovative/creative product.
It was a big night for the members of Llegal Creationz, who walked away with the coveted Company of the Year award. Also celebrating success was one of six bpTT-sponsored groups, Randomosity, whose members received a clutch of awards, including the prestigious Achiever of the Year presented to Isa Pooran, and Salesperson of the Year, received by Candace Gosine.Companies from Mayaro and environs featured prominently in the programme, and were high finishers in several categories including the prepared speech and impromptu public speaking competitions.Young Developers of Tomorrow received accolades as they were recognised as the Best Performing Mayaro Company, in addition to having the Most Innovative/Creative Product.
Fifteen-year-old Vanessa Bartholomew, president of Pillow Masterz, who won the Best Open House Presentation for the Mayaro region, captured the essence of Junior Achievement."Overall, this has been a tremendous experience. It has helped us to fortify school-based learning by applying knowledge in a real-life scenario. Even beyond that was the opportunity to meet other students from across the country and share our experiences. I am much more confident in terms of planning a career and I know that JA has given me an edge."