IMPACTFUL STORIES OF PERSONAL STRUGGLES AND SUCCESSES INSPIRE NATION DURING THURSDAY’S 25 MOST REMARKABLE TEENS CEREMONY

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 22, 2019 (SKNIS): At the age of 14 years, Colin Norford Jr. of the Basseterre High School was the youngest person to be recognized as one of this year’s 25 Most Remarkable Teen in St. Kitts and Nevis. The young man was honoured in the category of Music as he plays the acoustic guitar, saxophone and drums. He was presented the award by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris during a special sitting of the Federal Parliament on Thursday evening (November 21, 2019).

“It’s an overwhelming feeling,” the teen said after receiving his award. He noted that he didn’t expect his talents to be recognized at such a young age but suspects there is a greater plan in the works.

“I play my music for God because I always put God first in life,” Colin said, adding that his desire is to win souls for Christ.

Stories of inspiration and hope, and overcoming traumatic experiences, as well as sporting and academic accomplishments, the values of volunteerism, demonstrations of patriotic pride, and many more, are hallmarks of the 25 honourees that are chosen annually.

The Department of Youth Empowerment organizes the award programme that recognises persons between the ages of 12 and 19 years, who have excelled in traditional and non-traditional fields. It is the only award programme in St. Kitts and Nevis that is held in the National Assembly Chambers. The occasion is made even more special as the awards are presented by Members of Parliament and broadcast live via television and online.

Nineteen-year-old Jeriella Liburd of the Nevis Sixth Form College was awarded in the category Courage to Overcome. Her profile notes that she is a top student, who suffers from severe depression. Like many her age, she suffered in silence. This only made matters worse leading to occasions where she would harm herself.

Jeriella eventually found the courage to share her ordeal with loved ones and is getting the help and support that are needed. She confessed mixed feelings about sharing her story publicly.

“Now everyone is going to know, and I feel a bit shy,” Jeriella stated. However, she embraced the positive impact that this may have. “It will make others aware that mental health is a growing problem in the Caribbean, so I am honoured to be one of the 25 Most Remarkable Teens,” she said.

Curjé Stevens of the Saddlers Secondary School also showed great potential in school but succumbed to peer pressure. This led to drug use and other antisocial activities. In December 2018, Curjé made a Personal Decision to Change and rebranded himself. Now the 17-year-old is a respected leader in his school and is finding success in the classroom and in sports. However, he still looks back on his choices of the past.

“To be honest, I don’t think that I would have [graduated] with the 11 subjects that I have today and would not have been in the CFBC (Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College),” he said. While looking to the future, Curjé said that he will keep trying to convince his peers to join him in leading a positive lifestyle.

Sixteen-year-old Zwena Jones of the Gingerland Secondary School is also anticipating a bright future. The young lady was awarded last evening for Entrepreneurship and Volunteerism. She is making a mark in Nevis through fashion. She makes clothing, primarily using African print and is currently developing a children’s line. Persons watching the 25 Most Remarkable Teens ceremony learnt that Zwena designed and made the dress she was wearing.

“I would like to go to a sewing school so that I can learn more about fashion designing,” Zwena said, adding that when successful, she intends to return to St. Kitts and Nevis to teach and mentor promising designers.

The profiles of the 25 Most Remarkable Teens are posted on the St. Kitts Department of Youth Empowerment’s Facebook Page.

This year’s awardees are Colin Norford Jr.- Music; Abigail O’Flaherty – Scholar Athlete; Ta-jaroh Stapleton – Academics; Shanelly Hinds – Courage to Overcome and Dance; Chinue Bradshaw – Academics; Anya Seetahal – Dance; Gabrielle Myers – Academics and Courage to Overcome, and Shanté Anslyn – Visual Arts. Awards were also presented to Keneah Romney – Scholar Athlete; Khalique Martin – Photography; Johnisha Rawlins – Academics and Spiritual Commitment; Jeriella Liburd – Courage to Overcome; Aushaun Brown – Academics; Alesha Kelly – Scholar Athlete and Patriotism; Bionca Berry – Environmental Science, and Christi-Anne Mills – Scholar Athlete and Sports. The evening’s other awardees were Arljanique Ward – Spiritual Commitment; Zwena Jones – Entrepreneurship; Tiquanny Williams – Sports; Curjé Stevens – Personal Decision to Change; Tyquan Rogers – Sports; Zedan Clarke – Sports and Performing Arts; Dahlia Slack – Academics; Hailey Morris – Music, and Safin Connor – Academics and Leadership.

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