• Mechelle

High School B.A.I.L.E.Y Initiative Award participants and winners shine at Great House


The winning concept for the Visual Arts Competition - Picture Perfect Bahamas (captured here with Paul Frazier Jr., Managing Director of Gravtias Bahamas and Guest Judge Kevin Jenkins, CEO of Manchester Cooperation)

In 2018, local entrepreneurs Regina Smith (Owner, Firehouse Spice Co.) and Paul Frazier Jr.(Managing Director, Gravitas Bahamas), were selected as the winners of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) , and participated in a six week fellowship rotation amongst fellow like-minded entrepreneurs throughout the United States of America. Smith and Frazier joined other entrepreneurs who originated from across the Caribbean and Latin America regions. During this opportunity, participants were exposed to the culture of Pittsburgh and trained in entrepreneurial activities, networking, etc. Returning as alumni, Smith & Frazier returned to the Bahamas with a greater appreciation for international training programs and sought to grant a similar opportunity to students in their 10th -12th year, throughout the capital. In late Spring, they saw their dream turn reality as they introduced the Bahamian Arts, Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Youth (BAILEY) Initiative, an initiative whose goal is to see young Bahamians use their arts (mainly visual, culinary and cultural), to create a new and thriving industry of the Bahamas. This is accomplished through teaching and encouraging the youth on how to incorporate these arts to create social and economic change within the country.


They hosted the 1st BAILEY Initiative Culinary Skills Competition (alongside Phyllis Hunter, The Spice Diva) and Visual Arts Competition, which took place at the end of a 2-day workshop and involved a select group of high school students (representing C.C. Sweeting, C.R. Walker, New Providence Classical School and Queens College). Held in the historic Great House (built in 1876) on Market St., the students gathered to compete for this award with eagerness, ambition and focus.


Bailey Award Winner - Joshua Deveaux, Queen's College

The Visual Arts Competition was a combination of junior Toastmasters and College prep, as four individuals volunteered for an impromptu 1 minute speech based on one word (but the word could never be spoken during the speech). The students were creative and seemed entertained with the exercise, later learning that the value of being prepared for impromptu conversations – interviews, introductions or presentations, is a powerful tool for college and life prep. They were reminded that skills such as eye contact, voice projection, energy and body language are all key elements to public speaking and building your personal brand. In addition to this, two teams were challenged with the concept of creating a project that would have a great and positive social impact on their community, using a one thousand dollar ($1,000) budget. The winning team, Picture Perfect Bahamas, had an innovative and environmental concept that involved rehabilitating a local park. The team was awarded the $1,000 to fund their project and improve their community.



For culinary, participants were placed in four pairs, where they prepped and cooked a selection of multicultural dishes with origins from Africa and France. The theme was sheet dish recipes – meals where all ingredients were placed and cooked together in one sheet pan, and cooked for forty (40) minutes. All produce (tomatoes, onions, scotch bonnet, bell pepper, lime, ), meat (chicken) and fish (snapper) were locally sourced and were a main component of the judging criteria (along with presentation and appeal) as the local ingredients had to be easily identified and implemented. The culinary winners were D’Antea Clarke (C.C. Sweeting) and Skyh Rahming (New Providence Classical School) of the Hot Steppers team. Their stellar dish, a twist in Fish with chard and a Spicy Red Pepper Relish, wowed the crowd with its high incorporation of Bahamian ingredients (red snapper, clean presentation as well as a robust and balanced flavor.




For the Visionary Art competition, Guest judge: Kevin Jenkins, CEO of Manchester Cooperation (Parent Company of MCG Youth & Arts) was joined by Tina (bakery owner) and DC Pratt, founder of the Chan Pratt Foundation Scholarship Fund and a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter. For the Culinary Arts Competition, Mr. Jenkins judged alongside Mechelle McDonald-Sweeting (Lifestyle Blogger and Food Enthusiast) and Jenika, (Librarian at R.M. Bailey High School).



All students who participated in either competition were eligible for the Bailey Initiative award, through submitting an application and video. The overall winner amongst approximately thirty students, was Joshua Deveaux of Queen’s College who received a 7-day, all expenses paid internship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Second Place was awarded to Valexia Saint-Ange of C.C. Sweeting Junior High and Sidney Cambridge of Queens College, who placed third.

Feedback has been positive, with an increasing amount of interest from students, anxious to know when the next competition will be held.


Students who are interested in participating in this event or finding out more information, are asked to contact Regina at info@firehousespiceco.com and Paul at founder@gravitasbahamas.org . Sponsors for the culinary competition were Firehouse Spice Company and The Spice Diva who provided gift bags for all students and judges, which included culinary tools and a hot pepper jelly. Students also received gift certificates. The top 3 awardees received ribbons and other prizes.


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