Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Junior Achievement Thanks Teachers

Published:Sunday | June 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Elizabeth Gordon - Contributed
Orrette Muir - Contributed

Junior Achievement Jamaica honoured 14 teachers as part of its annual Champions for Youth Awards banquet on May 29. Today, we highlight two of these great teachers.

  • Elizabeth Gordon - Teaching is a passion

St Elizabeth

While her peers spent most of their lunchtimes playing and socialising, Elizabeth Gordon spent most of hers teaching basic-school children, while she was a grade-five student at Black River Primary. It therefore came as no surprise to her friends and family when she decided to read for a degree in education, and after 22 years as a teacher she still has the same level of enthusiasm towards the profession as she did as a child.

Gordon, who also holds a master's degree in communications and behaviour change, is the coordinator of communications for the special events and fundraising committees at Black River High. She does these tasks while teaching all grade levels (grades 7-13) and the subjects sociology, history, social studies, geography and history at the institution.

"I want to help students develop their God-given potential," Gordon said, noting that her role models did the same for her when she was a student at primary school.

Most rewarding aspect

She noted that the most rewarding aspect of teaching for her is to witness the accomplishments of her students after they "persist and realise their goals." She said that in order to ensure the success of her students, she pays particular attention to their financial, social and emotional well-being.

"I try helping students see beyond the box of their reality and strive to achieve greatness."

Gordon has been facilitating Junior Achievement/Financial Services Commission Personal Finance programme since its inception in 2010. She highlighted that in addition to building their levels of financial literacy, the programme has also enhanced their leadership, networking, and team-building skills.

"It (the Junior Achievement programme) has increased their awareness about life's future demands. The interactions they have had with major players in the financial industry have provided them with a greater sense of direction."

Gordon's commitment to education and nation building is also evident in the role that she has been playing in the promotion and development of the Jamaican culture. In 1992, she was crowned the St Elizabeth Festival Queen. Since then, she has played an active role organising several events aimed at increasing cultural awareness, including the Jamaica 50 celebrations.

  • Orrette Muir - 'Teaching in the genes'

St Andrew

Coming from a line of teachers in his family, Orrette Muir's decision to become an educator was very easy. He said that he gains great satisfaction from sharing knowledge with others.

"I knew that I would be doing something that I knew I would love," Muir expressed, while noting that he decided to become a teacher ever since he was a student at St Jago High in St Catherine.

Now in the profession for approximately nine years, Muir has positioned himself as an outstanding teacher of management of business, principles of business and economics. Currently a part of the teaching faculty at Ardenne High, Muir indicated that he does what he knows is required to ensure that his students excel.

"I will do everything to ensure that my students clearly understand whatever I am teaching. I utilise a lot of technology in the delivery of my lessons, I am easily accessible to them."

Muir said that as a business educator, he saw the Junior Achievement programme as an opportunity to increase the financial awareness of students and create entrepreneurs.

Favourite aspects of the programme

"One of my favourite aspects of the programme (Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs Programme) is the annual general meeting. This provides the students with an opportunity to gain valuable information from well-known business leaders, interact with students from other schools, showcase their business ideas and products and simulates a real business conference to the students."

Over the past two years, Muir and volunteers from JN Fund Managers have led students at Ardenne in establishing very successful student companies. In December of 2013, Muir and his team of students from Ardenne were selected to represent Jamaica in an entrepreneurship competition in Mexico, where they competed against other Junior Achievement countries in the Latin America and Caribbean Region. They won the FedEx Access award, which recognised the top student company that showed great innovation and creativity.

Muir's service to others extends nationally, as he is also the administrative officer of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (National Reserve).

Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) is a non-profit, non-government organisation, partnering with the Ministry of Education, the United States Agency for International Development, public organisations, and the private sector to deliver practical programmes aimed at preparing students, ages 5-24, for the global economy. JAJ honoured 14 teachers as part of its annual Champions for Youth Awards banquet on May 29. For more information, please contact JAJ via phone: 632-3572, or email info@jajamaica.org.