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Left to right: Donald Rolle, South Abaco Island Administrator; Wynsome Ferguson, Dir. Min. of Tourism Abaco; James Albury, MP Central & South Abaco; Leazona Bethell, Khalea’s mother; Travis Robinson, Par. Sec. in the Min. of Tourism and Aviation; Khalea Richard, Junior Minister of Tourism; James Richard, FHA principal and Khalea’s father; Nadia Kawalram, coach; Dominque Russell, District Supt. of Education and Samantha Cartwright, Min. of Tourism.

Junior Minister of Tourism Honoured with Special Assembly

On May 24, 2018 Forest Heights Academy held a special assembly to honour Abaco’s first ever Junior Minister of Tourism winner – Khalea Richard. Khalea competed against students from across The Bahamas and earned the title earlier this year.

The assembly was moderated by Lori Higgs-Thompson, a teacher at FHA. Travis Robinson was the keynote speaker. Mr. Robinson is the Member of Parliament for Bain and Grants Town as well as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

The National Anthem was led by Savion Bethel followed by a prayer from Victoria Brown. Branae Bain welcomed the audience and noted the “Qualities in a Faclon,” – FHA’s mascot.

Sierra Storr brought a brief dramatic recitation – “At the Theater” by A.P. Herbert.

Wynsome Ferguson, the Director of the Ministry of Tourism in Abaco, brought remarks. She noted her confidence during the competition that Khalea was going to be the one to bring the award back home to Abaco.

Following Ms. Ferguson, Antonia Rolle and Breanna Pinder performed a synchronized dance to the song “Price Tag” by Jessie J.

James Albury, Member of Parliament for Central & South Abaco as well as Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, came to the stage to bring remarks as well.. Mr. Albury noted that he was proud of not only Khalea but all the accomplishments of Forest Heights Academy – ranging from academics to sports to Junkanoo competitions. Mr. Albury noted that he was an alumnus of FHA.

Samantha Cartwright, with the Ministry of Tourism came forward to introduce Mr. Robinson as the guest speaker. She noted that Mr. Robinson had also won a Junior Minister of Tourism Award when he was in high school. Ms. Cartwright had helped facilitate the special assembly that day as well.

Mr. Robinson spoke about the importance of Tourism as an industry in The Bahamas. He noted that the country, and industry, needs the best and brightest in order to move forward. He highlighted Khalea as an example of the passion the Ministry is looking for. He brought words of advice to the students which included: discovering your strengths, learning to speak and present yourself, and keeping grounded in your faith.

Mr. Robinson reiterated the magnitude of Khalea’s accomplishment as well as the great strides the school has taken.

Following Mr. Robinson’s speech, Rolner Diego Paul, a grade nine student, brought a stunning rendition of Michael Pintard’s poem, “Bus Ride.” His strong spoken-word performance brought a raucous applause.

Following the reading and the presentation of the trophy, Khalea Richard brought brief remarks. She thanked her parents Jim Richard and Leazona Bethell, colleagues and the community. Khalea has a deep love for her country as well as the environment and spends time volunteering with Friends of the Environment.

Journey Higgs brought a musical selection as well. She played guitar and sang a moving rendition of “Oceans.”

Finally, before the crowd was dismissed to enjoy refreshments, James Richard, FHA principal as well as Khalea’s father, brought closing remarks.

About Bradley Albury

Editor-in-Chief of The Abaconian.

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