A baker’s dozen of exceptional National Youth Awardees were granted one more perk: the thanks of a grateful nation from President Sandra Mason at a special event held in their honour at State House on Tuesday.
The Head of State used the occasion to contrast the vast, often unadvertised opportunities available to today’s youth with her own experience, as she stressed that the world’s possibilities are now limitless, despite some negative aspects.
“You’re doing the sort of things that I would never have even contemplated in my own youth because you have so many more opportunities than we did in those days,” President Mason confided as she congratulated the 2022 awardees for their exceptional contributions to the nation.
Expressing her confidence in the awardees’ ability to overcome challenges the President declared: “Your possibilities today are endless because the world has opened up, and opened up sometimes negatively. But I know that you can and have circumvented those things and the world, as you say, is your oyster.”
President Mason encouraged the National Youth Awardees to collaborate and form alliances to advance their ideas. She also urged them to engage with the Prime Minister and other influential figures in their respective fields to amplify their voices and initiatives.
She emphasised the importance of introducing young people to opportunities earlier in life, suggesting that many may be unaware of what Barbados has to offer.
She said: “I don’t think a lot of people know what Barbados has to offer; we’re not aware of the ability of our young people; and we always wait too late to introduce our young people to everything.”
National Coordinator of Year of the Youth and Senior Youth Commissioner Elizabeth Bowen shared the President’s viewpoint and announced an upcoming youth conference later in the year as an ideal platform to put these suggestions into action.
“I’m thinking that the awardees can form part of that body of persons where they would have a platform with the necessary persons of interest to actually pitch on some of their areas of interest,” she said.
Here is the list of the awardees and their respective honours:
– Taahir Bulbulia received the Conrad Hunte Award for his outstanding contributions to sports development.
– Don Leacock, founder of Build Up Barbados, was honoured with the Ficus Award for his impactful community outreach programme.
– Dario Nightengale was recognised with the Challenge Award for his advocacy within the deaf community.
– Harrison College Sixth Form, represented by students Chae Talma and Daniella Clarke, secured the Hope Award for their school-based efforts to enhance education and communities.
– Ronelle King received the Phoenix Award for creating a safe space for Caribbean women to address issues of sexual abuse.
– Jovani Gittens was presented with the Colin Hudson Award for his innovative work in science and technology.
– Kwame Dowridge earned the Bambusa Award for establishing the Maths A+ Academy, aiding struggling students in achieving better grades.
– Akeem Rudder was granted the Banyan Award for his contributions to sports development, notably his dedication to a sports academy for people with disabilities.
– Zachary Bostic was honoured with the Baobab Award for his exceptional talent as a drummer with the Israel Lovell Foundation.
– Aaliyah Joseph received the Calabash Award for her videography skills and her ability to craft compelling short films and documentaries.
– Joshua Forte was the recipient of the Canewood Award for his innovative agricultural business, Red Diamond Compost Inc.
– Ashonelle Taitt was awarded the Sandbox Tree Award for using social media to engage and inform the public about pressing issues.
– Ashley Lashey earned the Silk Cotton Award for her outstanding work and advocacy in environmental health. (BT/BGIS)