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SBSA graduation |25 March 2023

SBSA graduation

A proud Jean-Luc Barra receiving his cup from President Ramkalawan

Jean-Luc Barra wins President’s Cup


Eighteen-year-old Jean-Luc Barra of Bel Air is the winner of the President’s Cup for the cohort 2020-2022 of the School of Business Studies Academy, who completed their studies last year.

Jean-Luc received his award from President Wavel Ramkalawan during the institution’s graduation ceremony at the International Conference Centre yesterday morning.

The President’s Cup is conveyed to the graduate who has not only performed well academically, but is also exemplary in behaviour, has been a good role model and an ambassador to the academy participating enthusiastically in different activities. Jean-Luc was described as a born leader who had been a true voice for other learners.

Other than the cup, Jean-Luc also received other prizes including laptop and a scholarship letter for further studies.

Speaking to local media, an emotional Jean-Luc said he was still shocked from the announcement but was filled with pride for having raised the President’s Cup and thanked all those who have been there.

“The level of happiness right now is overflowing but this is not just for me. I dedicate it to all those who have been supportive throughout my studies. I will always be thankful to all of them,” he said, citing his mother, family members and friends, the academy’s directors, lecturers and all the staff at SBSA.

He said although it was a tough road, he was glad he persevered and he never shied away from any tasks or challenges.

Jean-Luc who plans to go for further studies in business at university level, has advised other learners at the academy to study hard and persevere saying that “if you persevere, it will pay off, if you fall down, just rise up, we all fall in life, rise and continue to focus on what is most important to you.

His mother, Lisette Barra, who was still emotional and very surprised, said she felt so proud that her son was the recipient of this prestigious award.

Mrs Barra said Jean-Luc was fully dedicated to his school for the past three years, and remained focused in his studies.

“He truly deserves it because I saw how devoted he was towards his studies and I know his father, who passed since he was three, is also proud where he is,” said Mrs Barra.

Jean-Luc was among 175 students graduating yesterday after following studies in various business-related fields namely certificate in Administrative Skills, AAT Foundation Certificate in accounting, Certificate in Business Administration, Certificate in Accounting, Advanced Certificate in accounting, Advanced certificate in business management and administration, Diploma in business management and administration and Diploma in accounting and finance.

Yesterday’s ceremony was also to reward those who had excelled in their respective programme and one of those awards is the Outstanding Performer Award which is presented to the graduate who has produced excellent results.

The Certificate in Administrative Skills was awarded to Emily Adolphe while the Most Outstanding Performer award for the Certificate in Business Administration went to Camillia Stephen.

The Most Outstanding Performer for the Diploma in Business Management and Administration was Curtis Nolin while Kendra Poussou excelled in her programme of studies which was AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting.

Megan Gilbert was the recipient for the Diploma in Accounting and Finance.

The students were also rewarded for Best Effort and in Certificate in Administrative Skills, the prize went to Alisha Hoareau, while Gaelle Mounac was the recipient for Best Effort in Diploma in Business Management and Administration.

The award for Best Effort in Diploma in Accounting and Finance went to Shania Joseph.

There was also an AAT Award which is presented to the Diploma in Accounting and Finance graduate who has excelled academically in all the AAT external exams. The winner was Megan Gilbert.

The newly introduced ‘Most Resilient Learner Award’ which replaces the previous SNYC award, rewards the student who had shown perseverance through adversity and difficult life events. Liam Jean-Louis was chosen as the student who had shown these qualities – a respectful, tough and determined graduate.

Curtis Nolin and Adrian Port-Louis received the annual SBSA Governing Board Award, which is conveyed to the graduate who demonstrated outstanding contribution by being an exceptional ambassador to the academy.

The Medal of Academic Excellence, introduced for the first time last year – an award which recognises exceptional academic performance in a graduate – went to Megan Gilbert, who was a consistent outstanding performer throughout the 3 years.

When commending the students, the SBSA director, Josianne Bristol, congratulated them for their hard work and good results, and urged them to “go and build those successes; those of you going on to further studies ensure you give your all, so you come out victorious. Those joining the world of work ensure you demonstrate the professionalism you have been taught so as to shine in your career”. 

She said while the door on their studies closed at SBSA, the gateway to greater opportunities, was opening.

She also said the institution had so much to be proud of highlighting a remarkable improvement in its academic performance, with an increase in the number of students who received distinction last year compared to the 2021 cohort.

“Last year I stood in this very same spot and congratulated our graduates for being the cohort graduating with the most distinction – that was a total of 7. Today, I commend this cohort on pushing the bar higher still. Among you, dear graduands, we have not 7, not 8, but 16 graduating with distinctions,” said Mrs Bristol.

They were Emily Adolphe, Alisha Hoareau, Alisha Nibourette, Camillia Stephen, Angela Basset, Meryl Brioche, Jenna Elizabeth, Miriam Estico, Sheldon Monty, Gaelle Mounac, Curtis Nolin, Suzy Prempeh Marimba, Bahirih Valentin, Stephie Confiance, Megan Gilbert and Shania Joseph.

Mrs Bristol also added that despite the various challenges the academy faces, it was still producing excellent results and advised the learners not to let those barriers be a hindrance to their studies.

“We will continue to face challenges at SBSA, but we will also continue to persevere through them. Such things as lack of teaching space have never phased any of our lecturers. We still lament the fact that we are yet to be allocated our own premises, but we remain ever hopeful for the good news that our new, more modern, facility will be available in the near future to cater to our ever- growing student body,” she said.

She added that annually more people are eager to join the institution with the Year 1 enrolment figure, combined for both full-time and part-time programmes, standing at over 180. She stated that SBSA continues to strive to make its programmes more suited to the business world and the academy was currently reviewing the Diploma in Accounting and Finance and the Diploma in Business Management and Administration as they come near the end of their validation status.

This year, all the 175 graduates also received a Life Insurance Voucher from H Savy Insurance Company Limited and were also recognised for taking part in the ‘ABSA Ready To Work Programme’ – which is a Pan African flagship initiative, where they managed to attain an extra qualification.


Patsy Canaya

Photos by Joena Meme




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