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The new Mr CedarBridge Academy, Kariim O'Connor, on ambition and ideas 'I want to show the youth that you can make it, as long as you push for it'

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Mr CedarBridge Academy, Kariim O'Connor

Kariim O'Connor was named Mr CedarBridge Academy, beating his peers in a competition at the senior school.The 18-year-old won the honour having survived three phases of a contest which saw him grilled by a panel of judges on his future aspirations.The school's deputy head girl, Killina Minors, was named Miss CedarBridge as part of the same event.S4 student Mr O'Connor said of his December 15 win: “I got a lot of congratulations. A lot of my friends were there to cheer me on.”The competition aims to choose well-rounded students who represent themselves and the school well.Held in the auditorium of the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts, the competition judged contestants on their overall attitude and their answers to questions from a panel of judges.Mr O'Connor wasn't sure what all his new responsibilities would include, but said he would be helping with fund-raising efforts for the school's upcoming prom.He also wants to serve as a role model to others at the school.“I said in my ‘future scene' of the competition that I want to become a basketball player.“I want to show the youth that you can make it as long as you push for it.“The other reason is Bermuda doesn't really have any professional basketball players and I want to be the first.”Mr O'Connor was one of 14 who signed up for the competition aside from him, there were five males and eight females.The teenager attributed his win in part to luck he confessed he was asked the questions that he happened to have prepared the most for.One question was how he would raise money for his school from the community and the private sector.“My answer was that we should do something [done at] schools like MSA and Warwick Academy and host a fair.“I also said we could ask businesses to give us money in return for promoting their items, for instance advertising a brand [of beverage] on our drink machine.”The athlete plays power forward and wing on the school's basketball team.He is also part of the CedarBridge Academy Chamber Ensemble Choir.“Many people focus on the negative things at CedarBridge, but we have a lot of positive stuff going on [at CedarBridge] and we are making changes,” he added.