The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle emphasized the significance of Junaknoo, when she addressed attendees at the 19th Annual Junior Junkanoo Parade’s Awards ceremony, recently held at the Hilton Outten Convention Centre.
Rolle said that the Bahamian culture is celebrated through Junkanoo, and it is a unique expression of the Bahamian identity.
“It was and is an intentional effort led by the Government of The Bahamas in conjunction with the Junaknoo community to include our young people in understanding, appreciating and being educated in our rich and unique culture, and creating a place and space for them to discover and unveil their natural gifts and talents,” Rolle added.
Noting that Junior Junkanoo also promotes healthy competition among Bahamian youth, Rolle confirmed that 34 schools participated in the last Junior Junkanoo Parade.
Rolle furthered that participating in Junior Junkanoo provides many opportunities for young Bahamians and adds great value to the educational experience of the students.
According to the minister, Junkanoo not only builds school pride, but it enhances national pride, encourages self-esteem and helps students develop and improve their artistic skills.
“They learn about the construction of Junkanoo costumes and how to hone their musical skills,” she said.
Rolle encouraged teachers, students, parents and other members of the public to continue to support Junkanoo, in general.
“I invite you to support our Junkanoo industry,” she reiterated, while urging the audience to attend parades on other islands, as domestic tourists.
Minister Rolle also took the opportunity to congratulate the overall winners of the parade, reminding the youngsters that they are all winners. Growing Years Preschool won the Preschool Division, Letty’s Paradise Nursery and Preschool placed second and Kinder Care came in third.
Martin Town Primary won the Primary Division, West End Primary placed second and Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Academy placed third.
Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School won the Junior High Division and Jack Hayward Junior High School placed second.
In the All Age Division, Lucaya International School received fourth, Hampton Academy in third place, The Beacon School took second place and Bishop Michael Eldon School took the overall win.
St. George’s High School won the Secondary Division, Eight Mile Rock High School placed second and Total Education Centre took third place.
Rolle revealed that 25 schools had already registered to compete in next year’s Junior Junkanoo Parade.
Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, who also attended the ceremony, commended the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture and congratulated the schools on their participation and victories.