July 11, 2014
More than 25,000 young people have passed through the training grounds of Junior Achievement since the late 1970s, learning how to run a business by operating one in a club while still in school, but for this year’s crop of teen entrepreneurs there was something extraordinary about the exercise. SPARKS, sponsored and mentored by Commonwealth Bank, set a record by taking one of the top three places in every single one of the eight categories on which students are judged. And one young man, Michael Johnson, Jr., a senior at CR Walker, won top prize as the Most Distinguished Achiever, beating out more than 3,500 students in schools throughout the country.
“We are so proud of our SPARKS Achievers,” said Ian Jennings, President.
“They demonstrated the qualities that will take them far in business and in life – teamwork, dedication, leadership, staying true to their values. They not only developed their business plan, sold their products earning nearly $7,000, but they contributed to beach clean-ups, to the Children’s Emergency Hostel, organized a church service and more, and they did so while balancing school work, keeping up their grades and honouring other commitments.”
SPARKS lit up the stage at the end of year Junior Achievement awards ceremony with the 16–year-old Johnson winning Most Distinguished Achiever, Most Distinguished Marketing Officer, placing third place among all salespeople and placing second in the speech competition. Commonwealth Bank’s Advisory Team also came in second, just behind KPMG, and SPARKS club members Clarence Sherman, Clyshaun King, Donica Thurston and Nikita Coakley were all in the winners’ or honourees’ circle for various activities.
But it was President Johnson’s winning speech that touched so many, detailing how he came so close to going wrong until he realized he didn’t need anyone else to believe in him, he had to find the strength within.
“If I had waited for someone to believe in me, I would not have been a prefect today,” Johnson said. “If I had waited on someone to believe in me I would not have achieved anything in life, because as a young man that grew up in Kemp Road, the only thing most people believed that I would achieve was accommodations at Her Majesty’s Prison but here I am today, an Achiever. So like the young boy in the story, like Sir Milo lets believe in ourselves because belief will empower us to succeed.”
“The number one club sponsored and mentored by the country’s number one bank—it adds up to a very happy story,” says Mavis Burrows, Vice President of Operations at the bank with branches in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco. The publicly-traded bank has more than $1.4 billion in assets and more than 6,000 shareholders.
Commonwealth Bank Junior Achievers – The nation’s top performing bank celebrates its top performing Junior Achievement club, the SPARKS. Pictured receiving a special thank you prize from Mavis Burrows, Vice President, Operations, 3rd from left, is Michael Johnson, Jr., centre, who won three awards, including first place as the most distinguished achiever among hundreds of JA members in groups throughout high schools in New Providence.