YOUNG and GIFTED | Two students, who have an interest in business, win leadership scholarship

Two students who attend Pembroke Hall High School in St. Andrew have been selected as Jamaica’s inaugural recipients of the John Maxwell Youth Leadership Scholarship.

They are 17-year-old Kierra Mullings and 14-year-old Nicholas Smith.

A total of 20 youngsters from high schools across the island applied for the scholarship, which is named in honour of John Calvin Maxwell – an American author, speaker, and pastor who has written numerous books on leadership.

The scholarship, which is sponsored by Creative Brands and Concepts, provides opportunities to youngsters globally – aged 13 to 17.

Those youngsters must exhibit leadership potential and an interest in accessing international youth leadership training, offered by the United States-based John Maxwell Team.

The John Maxwell Team is a group of elite coaches, trainers, and speakers who are licensed to train others, using content and resources produced by John Maxwell.

The recipients will pursue an extensive one-year online immersive programme that will provide training in leadership skills, public speaking and coaching.

Nicholas, who has a passion for technology, aspires to be an entrepreneur. He was instrumental in developing a digital platform for his school, which has been facilitating students with access to classes online. That is being done in light of a ban on face-to-face classes, aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Nicholas, who is also involved in the debate and robotics clubs at school, said he feels ‘really good’ copping the scholarship in the male category.

“My father has always said to me that I have greatness within me and, to win this scholarship, proves that,” he added.

On the other hand, Kierra, who also plans to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, actively plays the role of mentor and counsellor to peers encountering challenges with COVID-19 at school and at home.

Citing other factors that she believes worked in her favour, she said: “I have been form captain for three years; I’m on the Honour Roll and the High Achievers Club. I’m always on top of my class.”

Kierra is optimistic that the scholarship – particularly the mentorship component – will help her fulfil her career goal in entrepreneurship.

“I think it can carry me a far way because of the help I will get. So, I’m really grateful for it. I think it’s a very good thing,” she further said.

Meanwhile, Principal of Pembroke Hall High, Rev. Claude Ellis, stated that the entire school community is ‘very proud’ of both students, adding that they were among five applying from the institution.

He said Nicholas is ‘forward thinking’, and is the lead student in a special group comprising his peers and teachers. The group was established to oversee the management of the school’s social media platforms, incorporating Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

“They manage those platforms to make sure that information is uploaded and that the content is current,” the Principal explained.

He, in relation to Kierra, said she is ‘very reserved’, but manages her class especially in the absence of a teacher.

“If a teacher is, for whatever reason, unable to attend a class, Kierra is the one who undertakes to query the teacher’s whereabouts, [and] whether there is any work or activity that the students can undertake in the interim… She’s akin to a teacher’s assistant. This is one of the ways in which she demonstrates her leadership skills,” Rev. Ellis explained.

Editorial Note: The information used to produce this story was provided by the state-owned Jamaica Information Service.


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