Valedictorian at the Barbados Youth Service, Nico Wilson, receiving the Minister’s Award from Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde and Director of the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps, Hally Haynes. (P.Harper-Grant/BGIS)

Officials from the Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment bade farewell to the last cohort of the Barbados Youth Service (BYS) over the weekend.

Some 70 graduates received certificates for successful completion of the BYS programme, which came into existence in 1991.

However, it was on August 15, 2019, that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced that this programme would be replaced by the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps.

The last tranche of graduates from the BYS programme received their certificates, while those who performed exceptionally were given special prizes.

Graduates receiving special prizes included Shaniah Cox, who received the Life Skills Award; Zaphere Skinner, who received the Private Sector Award; Kailey Mason, who was given the Arts and Craft Award, while the Sports Award went to Semron Thomas.

Receiving an award for outstanding Community Service was Tajah Sealy, who went above and beyond the required 44 hours and completed 225 hours.

However, taking the lion’s share of the awards was valedictorian Nico Wilson, who received the Cultural Arts Award as well as both top prizes – The Director’s and Minister’s Awards.

Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, who was on hand to share in the occasion with the graduates, congratulated them, promising to share their journey.

“We will not walk in front of you because you may not follow; we will not walk behind you because some of you may not be at the stage where you can lead, but we will walk at your side so that we can achieve greatness together, so that each one of you can live the Barbadian dream,” the Youth Minister pledged.

The first passing-out parade of the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps will take place later this month.

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