Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
WHO KNOWS? Jamaica's next great businessman might just be a current Cornwall College (CC) student, a product of the revived business club at the Montego Bay-based, all-boys high school, founded in 1896, and whose motto simply says, "Learn or Leave".
The club has been around for over 18 years, but has gone through periods of highs and lows in terms of its vibrancy, or lack thereof. Since the last academic year, however, it has been very active once again, and The Gleaner was privileged to sit in the very first business meeting for this academic year, in a third-floor classroom on Wednesday, September 26.
Sixth-former Courtney Guthrie, the newly installed president, said the objective is "to rebuild the business club, and to give other schools a chance to know about the business club, and what we are all about". One of the main goals of the club, whose motto is 'Time is money; knowledge is power; unity is strength', is to create young entrepreneurs, and to encourage members to be their own bosses, and to acquire the notion that they too can succeed in business.
It also has to do with getting experience and training while at school. Summer jobs and internships are part of this training, Kevon McIntosh, first vice-president, who wants to be an accountant, said. Most of the members are business students, but there are also arts and science students.
For instance, Tevin Smith, one of the science students, said, should he become a doctor, he could also set up his own business, so he joined the business club to get experience.
And there are those who joined, but are not so sure why. One such person was Treasurer Oren Service, who said, "When I came into the business club, I wasn't really interested, but after seeing the determination of other persons in the club, I was, like, maybe this could work out, and then when this idea - the Aqualites - came up, and I went to UWI expo, I was really impressed with myself and the other students."
The Aqualites, which started out as a Junior Achievement project of the CC Business Club, are the water candles that created quite a flame at an expo put on by third-year public relations students at The University of the West Indies, Mona-Western Jamaica campus, late last year. They comprise oil on top of coloured water, with a plastic floater that carries the wick. The oil atop the water prevents the from burning out, and it can last for about 20 hours.
At the expo, the young entrepreneurs sold most of what they had brought and got orders for more. Unfortunately, they could not meet the demands mainly because of a lack of funds to produce the candles. The idea is still alive and burning, however. At Wednesday's meeting, The Gleaner witnessed the magic of a candle's flame floating on water.
"Members of the business club are very enthusiastic about it. As president, I will push them hard to ensure this project is on the market," Guthrie said.
Veronica Craig, economics and management of business teacher, and one of two staff advisers, has been associated with the club for many years, and is also very enthusiastic about the Aqualites project. She said her role as staff adviser is to encourage students to work as a group, and to get them to be businesslike and to do projects on their own.
Karl McGarth, former business club member and Students' Council co-vice president, who has oversight responsibilities for all the clubs and societies in the school, was also present to offer his support to the newly elected executive board.
"My message to them is to get the ideas from the younger youths, and basically work together … for, as the motto states, in unity there is strength. Especially to the president, do your job. Do your job well!" he said.
CAPTION: Members of Cornwall College Business Club. The members of the executive are in the front row. They are (from left) Secretary Selvern Taylor, Treasurer Oren Service, Assistant Treasurer Clinton Rattray, Staff Adviser Veronica Craig, Second Vice-President Syheedi Essor, President Courtney Guthrie, First Vice-President Kevon McIntosh, and Public Relations Officer Cedric Campbell. - Photo by Paul H. Williams