A strong nine-person contingent jetted out of the RLB International Airport on St. Kitts Sunday afternoon November 25 for Miami Florida, where they joined contingents from other Caribbean countries. From Miami they took a nine-hour flight to Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, arriving in the southern hemisphere city Monday morning.
The finalists are the Washington Archibald High School, represented by students Tayesha Martin, Akila Moore, and Shelicia Rogers and teacher Mrs Dhalia Hudson, while representing the Basseterre High School were students Guevelle Pemberton, Damarni Tyrell and Trevis Belle, and teacher Ms Eunice Liburd.
“Twenty one student companies from 13 countries in the Americas Region will compete in the finals,” said Ms Tracy Herbert of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce who accompanied the students and teachers. “Junior Achievers operations in Central America, North America, South America and the Caribbean will be represented by successful local JA teams.”
According to Mrs Hudson of the Washington Archibald High School, the students will be showcasing products, Business Plans and Marketing Strategies for their companies, ‘Wildly Creative’ by her school and ‘Thrifty Trends’ by the Basseterre High School.
“Junior Achievers is a JA Company that is run in all the high schools between St. Kitts and Nevis and it is basically where the third form and fourth form students come together and they form a real company,” observed Mrs Hudson. “They come up with a product idea or service that they want to offer to the general public and then they would function like a real business.”
She explained that nine schools in the Federation normally compete in Junior Achievers Trade Fair which was introduced in 2004, but this year only four schools entered and from those four schools, only two showed interest as to try to take this company further and compete internationally.
“We had to write a persuasive letter explaining to them why we should be chosen as part of the finalists of the 2012 JA America’s Company of the Year,” explained Teacher Hudson. “Only two schools from the four that entered this year actually wrote the letter trying to convince JA Worldwide that they should be a part of the finalist companies to compete in the 2012 JA Company of the Year competition.”
According to a press release from the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this an annual event held by Junior Achievement Worldwide with the generosity of its sponsor, FedEx who contributes significantly to the event.
“The competition starts from the 27 to 29 of November, during which the Hemispheric JA Company of the Year will be named,” said Mrs Hudson in an interview before they left St. Kitts on Sunday. “We will leave there on Friday the 30th but because of the distance we will not get back to St. Kitts until the 1st of December.”
Mrs Hudson, who teaches Principles of Accounts and Economics and is the teacher who has been working with the Junior Achievement Programme since 2006, said that they had a total of 23 students as part of the company, but unfortunately JA Worldwide as well as FedEx could not pay for the 23 students.
Asked how the number was whittled down to three, she said: “Selection is based on performance and it is also based on the students having the appropriate documents to leave at the time we have to leave. There is one student we really wish could have travelled with us, but unfortunately he didn’t have the necessary travel documents.”
According to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, in addition to announcing the JA Company of the Year, the celebration will also recognise the winner of the FedEx Access Award, which will be presented to the student company that best addresses the concept of international trade, resource management, environmental sustainability and global mart expansion.