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Student shows off his talent

Published:Thursday | March 19, 2015 | 12:58 PMOrantes Moore
A range of footwear designed by a 19-year-old entrepreneur Roshane Byfield from Cromwell Land in Highgate, St Mary.
Teenage entrepreneur Roshane Byfield with principal Jullet Frazer-Sadaar at St Mary High School in Highgate, St Mary.


A HIGH school principal in Highgate, St Mary, has hailed a talented young footwear designer as 'a model student' and praised the entrepreneurial teenager for developing a business that helps pay for his education.

While it is commonplace for passionate teachers to become enthused by high-performing scholars, the principal at St Mary High School, Jullet Frazer-Sadaar, insists the achievements of her grade 13 student, Roshane Byfield, are nothing short of exceptional.

Frazer-Sadaar told Rural Xpress: "He is a very special student, because whenever I converse with him about life in general, I am always impressed by the respect and perspective I get from him.

"He makes and mends shoes, which I also found surprising, because these days, young people are not really interested in that kind of endeavour, and he uses some of the money he makes to send himself to school.

"What I really admire is that he is from poor circumstances, but that has not daunted him. I really want other young people to hear his story, be empowered, and understand that they can do something for themselves, even in the most dire circumstances.

"They don't have to revert to anything inappropriate or criminal. They can look to people like Roshane as a model."

As a child, Byfield learned to design footwear working in his father's shoemaker's shop in Cromwell, Highgate, and as he grew older, he gradually expanded his skills to include bags, belts, and other fashion accessories.

Now 19 years old, the social studies student believes two of his greatest assets are an innate ability to spot a good business opportunity, and a generally optimistic approach towards everyday matters.

He explained: "I have an eye for business and seek to make the best of things, even in the very darkest of situations. From a tender age, I was socialised in a way where my father exposed me to a lot.

"He would take me aside and say: 'This is the situation; I don't know how you are going to make it to school tomorrow because bills have to be paid and business is slow at the moment.'

"Being a spiritual person and seeing all the things God has done in my life gives me hope for a better tomorrow, and a better Jamaica. I got this ideology from my parents (smiles). Together they are not perfect, but learning from their ideas and mistakes has helped me to become a unique individual.

"I see what they have done and how I can make different choices that will help me become a better individual who is able to help myself, and my community and family."

Looking ahead, Byfield begins attending university in August and has already developed two new business strategies to help raise funds to cover the fees for his quantity surveying and civil engineering course.

He said: "Currently, the wholesaler that supplies the schools in this area and the supermarket in my local community has problems getting poultry and eggs, so I've decided to utilise the space in my backyard to raise poultry and layer birds to supply these shortfalls.

"I've started very small with around 50 birds and plan to expand to around 600 by the end of April. And then in September, I'd like to start a taxi business operating cars from Annotto Bay to Port Maria and Buff Bay in Portland."