Junior Achievers had everything from beautiful ornaments made with sea shells, to handbags fashioned from soda can tops and “dreamcatchers” to catch and impress Governor Helen Kilpatrick on Saturday.
The Junior Achievement Trade Fair, hosted by Governor Kilpatrick at Government House, has the aim of showcasing Junior Achievement companies and the types of products they come up with each year, and letting the participants speak with the governor to explain how their products are made, where they get their ideas and how well their companies are doing.
“The products were absolutely fantastic, and the students did so well,” said Mrs. Kilpatrick. “They all made a profit and contributed to the Feed our Future Foundation. There were some really new and impressive products this year, and it’s nice the way they can come up with new ideas every year,” she said.
Mrs. Kilpatrick, along with invited guests, went booth by booth, looking at the products the students made. She was presented with a number of items by students from the various companies.
“I love your product idea. You should really continue with this after JA … as it’s a good hobby, and the feedback from the public was excellent,” Mrs. Kilpatrick commented to the Junior Achievement team Kman Delight, after viewing coasters decorated with Cayman flora, fauna and local people.
Mitch Bush, team leader for the company Just for You, said the governor was very impressed with their products of greetings cards for various seasons.
Delighted with Turtle Toss, a game product by Dart-sponsored JA company Sokatra, Mrs. Kilpatrick said she was looking forward to playing Turtle Toss on the beach. She threw the ball into the turtle’s mouth on the first throw. DMS Company achievers also impressed her with “dreamcatchers” (handmade objects woven into a loose net or web and decorated with sacred items such as feathers and beads).
“It was a fabulous and a great opportunity having the students all come together in one place to showcase their products,” said Teresa Owen-Foster, Junior Achievement programs director.
“The governor is very receptive to the program … she hosted the event.
“It is a wonderful finish to the Junior Achievement this year and was a crowning point in the program [in addition to] the awards ceremony, which takes place in May this Year,” she said.
Board member Dominique Chenier said the program allows students from different schools to form teams and sell shares to raise money to start a business. Then they come up with an idea for a product.
The product must then be completely produced, marketed and sold by the Junior Achievers.
She said the teams have leaders, and when a team is formed, the students elect officers to represent each area of the company.
“The students not only have an opportunity to be a part of a team, but to also take on the role of an officer, which gives them excellent leadership experience,” said Ms. Chenier.
The program runs from September to April, at which time, the company is closed. Any profits are turned over to Junior Achievement. At the end of the program, achievers are given awards and the grand prize winners get an all-expenses-paid trip to Canada, where they work with other junior achievers to acquire leadership skills.
As a teacher, Ms. Chenier said Junior Achievement has allowed students who may not shine academically to shine in other ways. “I have students very excitedly come up to me and say they had a great sales event, or are taking part in producing a fantastic product.
“It is, in my opinion, one of the best foundations for youth on the island…,” Ms. Chenier said. “I can’t praise the program enough.