September 11th was celebrated as Layla Leathen Day at the Grand Bahama Academy of Seventh Day Adventists in honour of the 2023/2024 Junior Minister of Tourism.

Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation officials, family, friends and well-wishers visited the school for the special ceremony highlighting the new Junior Minister’s accomplishments.

Deputy Director General Dr. Kenneth Romer, in conveying the sentiments of the Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation and Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Chester Cooper, commended the honouree on her prestigious achievement and the academy for the work they perform in education.

Dr. Romer pointed out that having been bestowed the Junior Minister of Tourism title is a mark of distinction and sets Leathen apart as an example, role model, difference maker and is a distinctive call to excellence and service.

“This Grand Bahama Academy of Seventh Day Adventist School has distinguished itself as a school of choice that cultivates champions,” he said.

Dr. Romer also commended the proud parents of new Junior Minister, Marvin and Deathra Leathen, and congratulated the Training and Education Department at the Grand Bahama Tourism Office.

He also noted how proud and excited Ministry of Tourism executives are about the Junior Minister Program, which was launched in 2002 and replicated throughout the Caribbean in 2003, is under the leadership of School Unit Manager Samantha Cartwright.

“This breakthrough training initiative was designed to promote awareness of our leading industry among high school students. It’s long-range goal is to generate a talent pool of young professionals to service our tourism industry and, by extension, our economy,” he said.

“This coveted program encourages high school students to develop leadership, public speaking, problem solving and team-building skills. It also aims to promote an understanding of the importance of tourism to our country’s economy and our culture while seeking to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills among high school students.

Sixteen-year-old Leathen, who admits she is still in awe of her most recent accomplishment, is confident as she makes ready to represent The Bahamas in a few weeks in the regional competition in the Turks and Caicos Islands she will bring home the Junior Minister of Tourism of the Caribbean title.

The 12th grade aspiring obstetrician-gynecologist said she will forever be grateful for having such a prestigious position as the Junior Minister of Tourism and promised to lead with dignity, courage, faith and honour.

“As your Junior Minister of Tourism for the 2023-2024 year, I vow to leave a lasting impact on the youth of this country – a legacy that will be continued for many generations to come. I want to be remembered not just as another junior minister, but one who empowered and served as the voice of the youth of this nation,” she said.

Principal Jeffrey Jervis said it was history in the making and congratulated Leathen for her persistence and tenacity which led to the grand celebration.

By LEDEDRA MARCHE/Bahamas Information Services

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