Bishop Anstey High School, Port of Spain took the overall winner’s trophy of the third annual National Secondary School Entrepreneurship Competition (NSSEC) at the closing ceremony, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on November 20.
Bishop’s Team Two comprising Shamaryah Saunders, Imani Griffith, Jennika Lynch, Moesha Lynch and Javanna Glasgow celebrated with teachers Karen Gittens and Danielle Holder and their school’s Team One, which placed third.
During the six-week programme, over 700 students and teachers participated in over 6,000 hours of entrepreneurship training, making NSSEC the biggest entrepreneurship competition in the Caribbean region.
Team Two’s victory earned its members 75 per cent financing of scholarships at the Arthur Lok Jack’s Global School of Business, $5,000 in cash and gift vouchers. Second place went to Cowen Hamilton Secondary School's Team Two, which got 30 per cent scholarship financing, $2,500 in cash and gift coupons, while Bishop’s Team One walked away with 20 per cent scholarship financing, $2,000 in cash and gift coupons.
Special prizes were given to Cowen Hamilton for most dedicated school, Mya Samuel of Cowen Hamilton for most dedicated student and David Valentine for most dedicated teacher.
In her feature address, President Paula-Mae Weekes said of all her engagements as president, she most enjoys speaking to young people. The event, she said, was double the pleasure for her. She congratulated the winners and reassured the other students that even though they did not walk away with a scholarship or a cash prize, the experience they had was exceptional, valuable and well worth their investment of time and energy.
“I am heartened to be among so many young people who have invested considerable time and effort, fine-tuning their skills and building their capacity for work. This experience, particularly with its focus on creativity and innovation will no doubt assist you to navigate the workplace in the years to come.”
Weekes told the students, as young people who have grown up in the information age, they will particularly be well-placed to take TT above and beyond the constraints that hamper development.
“You have spent well over 10,000 hours participating in this competition. Hold on to the many principles to which you have been exposed. See it as a launchpad for turning ideas into reality for bridging any gaps between your education and the skills needed to flourish in the world of work. Fitted with the right skills and attitudes, you can add valuable assets to the nation’s commercial sector, and in time be able to create and mange your own businesses,” the president advised.
“Before I leave I have to say how jealous I am of you, how annoyed I am I did not have your opportunity. Because if I had at your age, right now I could be the owner of ‘Sweet Paula’s Tamarind Balls, Sugar Cake and Fudge Enterprise,’” Weekes said, eliciting a roar of laughter from the audience.
Among the other secondary schools that topped divisional sponsor prizes were Waterloo High School; Polytechnic Institute; Presentation College, Chaguanas; St James Secondary; Bates Memorial; Trimont College; Rhino’s Educational Institute; San Juan North Secondary; Arima North Secondary; Corpus Christi College and Queen’s Royal College.