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Island’s teens are still outstanding

Thirty years after aspiring doctor Malcolm Brock took the top award, the Outstanding Teen Award programme continues to highlight the positive achievements of the Island’s young people.

The inaugural winner of the award in 1982, Dr Brock went on to achieve his goals in medicine and is now an associate professor of surgery and oncology at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.

Since then many winners have gone on to become doctors, dentists, lawyers and business leaders, with Dr Brock setting the mark.

CedarBridge student Akeila Richardson took the top award last week, beating 104 of her peers to the prize.

The awards first began as the three-day Bermuda Teen Conference in which overseas guests served as judges.

“There were three parts to the event; the actual forums which teenagers got together from the various schools and had committees of teens and put together workshops and chose people they wished to facilitate the workshop and we called that the conference part,’ explained Michelle Wade, director of Teen Services.

“That was on the Friday and on the Saturday there was the teen talent show and that got really big where we had overseas guests to be judges. We had DJ Jazzy Jeff of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ come in to be a judge one year and twice we had our winners showcased on BET Talent Showcase. The other prize was we had our winner featured in Right On! Magazine, when the editor Cynthia Horner came to Bermuda and interviewed the winner.”

Because of financial challenges, Teen Services cut the workshops and talent show in 1995 but continued with the Outstanding Teen Awards. The event wasn’t held on two occasions, 1997 and 2005.

Teenagers must be nominated by their school, church or community organisations to be considered.

Nominated candidates are then contacted and interviewed, during which time they are evaluated on their achievements, skills and personal qualities by adult judging committees. All volunteer judges have expertise in the relevant category, of which there were 11 this year: academic achievement, spiritual leadership, leadership, sports, most progress, perseverance, community service, visual arts, performing arts, vocational technology/arts and outstanding overall.

Chiamo Knight of CedarBridge was given the most progress award, having tranformed his attitude from ‘I don’t care, It doesn’t matter, it’s not important’ to a student willing to go the extra mile.

He was selected to serve as a prefect in his third year, and later delivered a compelling speech to his teachers which resulted in his selection as head boy.

“Each young person is asked questions pertaining to whatever field they were nominated in,” explained social worker Nina Jones, Outstanding Teen co-ordinator.

“The only two categories that are a little different are visual arts, where they have to submit six pieces of artwork during the interview process, and in the performing arts where they have to perform a one to two-minute presentation. All nominees receive certificates and medals and all 104 are winners. Just to be nominated is a true honour.”

The scores are tabulated and kept confidential until the night of the presentation. Neither the judges nor Teen Services staff know beforehand who has won. Overall winners have come from both private and public schools. Berkeley Institute students Barclay Simmons, Michael Pearman and Janita Burke took top honours in consecutive years 1990, ‘91 and ‘92. Whitney Institute student Cherie Richardson won in 1993.

Teen Services provide counselling and prevention outreach to the schools. Their mission is “to empower Bermuda’s youth, particularly at-risk girls, by promoting health development, through ongoing education, counselling and support “.

“Today peer pressure equates safety, for males and females, said Ms Wade. “‘If I am a part of this group or behave a certain I am better off because people will look out for me’, so being an individual or being different is more of a challenge.

“For some young people I believe they want to do better, but they just melt in with the majority. We don’t want to downplay it, but we need to validate their feelings with reference to that issue.”

Saltus students (from left): Matthew Correia (Outstanding Teen, Perseverance, male); senior prefect Hannah Gibbons (Outstanding Teen, Academic Achievement, female); and deputy head boy Daniel Pell (Outstanding Teen: Academic Achievement, male)
<B>Triple triumph for Saltus</B>

Saltus Graduate Years students Daniel Pell and Hannah Gibbons won the male and female academic achievement awards at last weekend’s Outstanding Teen Awards.

A third student from the school, Matthew Correia, won the perseverance category.

Daniel is the deputy head boy while Hannah is a senior prefect. They were amongst 104 students from the Island’s schools nominated in various categories.

Headmaster Ted Staunton praised all three students for their achievements.

“This distinction comes as a result of their dedication and commitment to their academic studies in the challenging advanced placement programme at Saltus,” he said. “It is also a tribute to the exceptional instruction and guidance provided to them by the Saltus faculty and staff.”

Hannah has been an honour roll student since joining the school in 2007. In her GCSE exams, she achieved the highest possible grade of A* in Biology, History, Geography and Business, and A in English Literature, English, Maths and French. In her first year of the SGY programme, she was named an AP scholar, achieving the highest grade of 5 in English Language and Geography, and a 4 in Micro-economics. She also achieved a score of 750 out of 800 in her English Literature SAT examination. This year she is studying Macro-economics, Calculus, English Literature and Psychology, all at the advanced placement level.

Daniel achieved nine passes in his GCSE exams, with an A* in Maths, an A in Spanish, Art and Physics, and a B in History, English, Business and ICT. In his first year of the SGY programme, he achieved a grade 5 in the advanced placement exam in Micro-economics. Now in his second year of the programme, he is taking an extended workload, studying English, Calculus, Physics, Computer Science, US History and Macro-economics.

Matthew was diagnosed with meningitis at age three and lost more than 75 percent of his hearing. He set his sights on attending university and achieved five GCSEs, in Maths, English, Business, Biology and Physical Education. In SGY2, he is taking advanced placement exams in Geography and AS courses in Media and Business studies, as well as pre-college courses in Sociology, Maths and English. Outside the classroom, he has played soccer for Saltus, BAA and Wolves, and has coached with the Bermuda Junior Golf Association.

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Published March 30, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 30, 2012 at 8:46 am)

Island’s teens are still outstanding

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