Saluting our teachers
Shauna-Li Valentine - Destined to Teach
In 2009, Shauna-Li Valentine applied to the School of Business at the University of Technology to complete a degree in business administration. She was accepted by the institution but was placed in the School of Education to complete a degree in education. Livid and disappointed, Valentine stormed to the faculty office to verify the error. On her way, she was intercepted by a staff member at the School of Education who queried her concerns and notified her of the similarities between the programme she applied for and the one she has been slated to complete. With some clarification by the faculty and encouragement by her mother, who is also a teacher, she decided to 'give it [the programme] a try'.
"I gave it a try and here I am today enjoying what I do," she said.
Now a teacher at Port Antonio High School, where she teaches Economics and Electronic Document Preparation and Management, the Titchfield graduate believes she was called to be a teacher.
"I did not choose teaching, teaching chose me," she affirmed.
Her most rewarding experience since she began teaching in 2013 was leading a cohort of grade 11 students, who were preparing for their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Economics exam, to successful passes.
"These students were learning economics for the first time and they had only one year to learn a two-year syllabus," she said. "I felt proud and motivated to help students succeed in a subject [economics] that was being taught at the school for the first time.
Valentine leads the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programme at her school. As a young entrepreneur herself, Valentine notes that JACE aids in equipping her students with the requisite entrepreneurial skills needed to own and operate a business.
"I would like to see a generation of youth who create employment opportunities and income revenue streams for themselves without being heavily reliant on the state to do so," she said.
Dayle Evans: Committed to his calling
Dayle Evans has a strong commitment for students' academic success and was always certain that he was 'called to teach'. Coupled with his passion for business, Evans enjoys being a teacher of the business subjects - principles of accounts, principles of business, information technology, and management of business at Holland High since 2003.
"I was honoured to lead students in their practical entrepreneurial experience, as part of the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programme as it speaks to both of my loves, teaching and business," said Evans.
Evans has an inherent drive to search for and utilise new teaching strategies in my lesson delivery. This drive to see students succeeds has led to him receiving several other awards including the Carlong Publishers Award for Contribution to Education in 2013, and the Jamaica Teaching Council and the Ministry of Education Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
His contribution to education resulted in him being appointed a Master Teacher of Business by the Ministry of Education in 2008, a position given to teachers who, among other things, demonstrate excellence in their current practice and contributes to the development of the school, community and country.
"I believe that mentorship and increased opportunities in areas such as technical and vocational education are key factors to achieve student success," he noted.
Evans stressed that he needs Jamaican youth to excel anywhere they are in the world and help to advance the Jamaican economy.
Careen Yolanda James- Barnett - Economics for Growth
For the second consecutive year, Careen James-Barnett has been named the top teacher in St Catherine by Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) based on her commitment and drive to promote entrepreneurship, workforce readiness, and financial literacy education to her students at St Jago High.
"I am elated and honoured to be a recipient of this award again. I give God all the glory for propelling me to such great heights," said James-Barnett.
Her 16-year career in the field of education continues to break records and, for several years, she has been able to lead most of her students to achieve passes in Economics at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level.
"I have a passion for teaching and I will do all that it takes to ensure my students excel to the fullest."
James-Barnett believes in entrepreneurship development as a means to promote sustainable growth in the economy. This, added to her zeal for teaching led her to organise students to participate in the Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programmes. In this programme, high school students start and run businesses.
"I did the programme (JACE) when I was in school, so I know the positive impact it can have on our youth."
James-Barnett noted that her vision for Jamaican youth is for them to be self-sufficient.
"I want to see our youth grow and develop to their full potential, having a sound mind and a clean heart that will cause them to help their fellow man along the way."