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BTC outfits students to head back to school

Urban Renewal kids supplied with backpacks, tennis shoes, clothes and school survival tips
  • Young students make a mad dash for phone cards during the fun day.

  • A group of kids get some exercise during the BTC event.

  • A youngster wheels her way to the back-to-school fun day held by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) at its John F. Kennedy Drive headquarters. PHOTOS: BTC

Published: Sep 04, 2013

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More than 100 youngsters from the New Providence Urban Renewal went back to school prepared, courtesy of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) after a recent fun day during which they were showered with school supplies, given haircuts, health and dental checks and tips and heard a motivational talk.

The day was rounded out with games, dancing and a Colors Junkanoo rush-out at the BTC head offers on John F. Kennedy Drive.

Jerome Sawyer, senior manager, public relations said the school aid will be an annual event following on the success of LIME which for the past five years has hosted a similar program throughout the Caribbean.

For this year’s event, BTC worked with Urban Renewal, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and a number of other organizations to assist 100-plus less fortunate children between the ages of 11 and 17 in their back to school preparations. The children received a back pack with school supplies, gift certificates and hygiene products.

BTC endorsed track star Anthonique Strachan was one of the motivational speakers. She urged the children to stay in school. Later with her coach, Henry Rolle, the Caribbean and Bahamas PUMA athletic lifestyle company representative, she presented 100 pairs of kids PUMA athletic shoes. Rolle said PUMA will continue to work with BTC to help the children in Urban Renewal on other islands.

“We will continue to work with BTC and their ongoing outreach to the children in the Urban Renewal areas,” he said. “PUMA sponsors Anthonique Strachan and we see how her youth and track star status can help bridge the gap to reach kids in our inner cities. She can help them realize anything is possible if they make the most of their time in school and PUMA believes wholeheartedly in that message.”

PUMA is the official sponsor of the Bahamas Olympic Association and the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations.

Anthonique Strachan’s outstanding athletic success has allowed her to turn professional with PUMA as her sponsor and she is now starting college in Auburn, Alabama and continuing her athletic career under Rolle.

“I accepted the PUMA offer because I am a great admirer of Usain Bolt’s success and he is sponsored by PUMA,” said Strachan. “I admire his determination and tenacity and wanted to emulate him by also going with PUMA. Plus they stepped up to the plate to help junior and senior athletes in The Bahamas.”

Strachan said turning professional meant removing a financial burden from her family.

“Turning professional meant I could attend college free of charge and not burden my family with the cost. I used education, determination and my love of track to get me into college, and I hope others will learn that all is possible and use their time in school to their advantage,” said the young star who will study computer science.

A Princess Margaret Hospital dietitian spoke to the children about healthy eating and meal planning. Dr. Moxey-Hepburn, Lisa Duncombe and Chloe Bain representing the Bahamas Dental Association gave free cavity checkups with a report card. Representatives from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and Junior Achievers were available to advise youngsters and parents, and Anushka from the Clarabelle Soup Kitchen gave away school clothing to those who needed it.

Karaoke King Demetrius led the entertainment program of prize winning contests interspersed with singers, dancers and rappers including a Michael Jackson take-off, the 5-strong HD Acrobatic Dancer Crew, Bahamas Tongo Dojo karate team, songstress Samara Hall, dance duo Savanah and Symone Hall, Osano Neely, Rio Johnson and Juice Unit.

The program was peppered with 5-minute motivational talks from Julian Believe, Eric Fox of Teen Challenge, Olympic 1,600 meters gold medal winner Ramon Miller, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Director Darren Turnquest, and Jason Clarke and Taja Moxey, this year’s senior and junior BTC Starmaker title holders and winners of the BTC $10,000 promotional contracts. They all shared poignant experiences and advice to share with the youngsters related to wasted opportunities and faded dreams because of drug taking in school, keeping bad company and not doing homework. The message was loud and clear — stay in school, do well in school, do your homework and don’t take drugs.

Sawyer also spoke to the children and drove home the message of the importance of an education.

“Education is the most important thing in your life, because whatever you want to do in life you cannot do it without a good education,” said the BTC senior manager.

“Regardless of what you want to be in life, you cannot achieve your dream if you haven’t done well in school. This is why BTC has brought important people here to try and help you understand the importance of working hard in school. My mother used to say to me, whatever you do Jerome, make yourself proud first so others can then be proud of you too. And I so advise you — work hard and make yourself proud and good things will happen for you.”

Sawyer told the children to remember that they will need a good education to further their dreams and to ensure they choose where they work, instead of working just where you can get a job.

Sawyer said that BTC management and staff hoped the fun-filled day would help them to make a new commitment to work hard and be the best that they could be.


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