“What is taught to today’s youth will impact The Bahamas in the future,” were the words of Tymia Thompson, winner of the Junior Achievement (JA) Bahamas National Toastmasters Speech Competition, which was held during its recent Junior Achievement Bahamas Annual conference (BahamaJAC).
“We are literally holding the purpose of the future in our hands,” said the Kingsway Academy 11th grade student, who represented New Providence in the competition.
“We are in a world of rapid change. Change in technology. Change in climate. Change in resolution skills. Change in government. Yes, we understand that these changes are the results of our decisions, but do we remember that we are amenable for these changes? In order to focus on our theme — ‘40 years: Igniting the present for tomorrow’s future’ — I must first define the word ignite. Google defines ‘ignite’ as the ability to catch a fire or to cause something to catch a fire. However, it was never mentioned what should be ignited. If we know not what to ignite, how can we prepare anything for today? And if we prepare nothing for today, what can we expect tomorrow?”
Thompson, who serves as vice president of marketing for the JA Company BOB F.O.C.U.S. (Finding Opportunities, Creating Undeniable Success) in her winning speech, said in order to ignite, people must first ask themselves how to ignite? What they are igniting and why they are igniting it?
And she reminded that it only takes a spark to get a fire going.
“Purpose is just as contagious. It’s rather inconceivable that goals and aspirations are normally stepping stones for someone else’s purpose as well as yours.”
She equated it to purchasing a new car. And said that by purchasing a car, a person has employed a mechanic. So, in a sense, she said, if a person never finds their purpose, someone else may never find their purpose. As such, she said a person should never consider igniting anything without purpose.
In her speech, Thompson referenced Deshauna Barber, the first American serving soldier to win Miss USA, who failed several times before she snatched the ultimate title.
Thompson spoke to Barber, who, at age 19, in the summer of 2009, was approached by a strange woman — an encounter that would later lead her into the world of pageantry — as the woman didn’t just tell her she was beautiful, but convinced her to compete. To contest for Miss USA, Barber had to win a state pageant; she competed in a state pageant six times and lost every time.
Barber expressed her frustration to the woman who had convinced her to enter the pageant world and was told to keep trying. That woman died in June 2015, six months after Barber won Miss District of Columbia, USA. Six months later in June 2016, Barber became the first soldier to win Miss USA.
“Can you imagine what might’ve happened if she gave up on her purpose? If she threw in the towel and never ignited a passion for pageantry?” questioned Thompson.
She said somewhere among her generation is a young girl preparing for a pageant, just as Barber did – igniting her passion for beauty on the inside as well as outside.
“Somewhere, as I speak, there’s the next governor general and prime minister, igniting change with a keen eye. Some young child may be the best sanitation engineer just by picking up a candy wrapper in a classroom. These things start so small and yet they are so important – so important to the next leadership of this country,” said the Kingsway Academy student.
Grand Bahama student, Philip Joe placed second. De’Jae Woods of North Andros rounded out the top three.