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Posted: Wednesday 3 December, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    CAS Global enhances academic skills in students
    Four local students win New York trip


    By Suelika N. Creque


    Julie ‘Lexy’ Brooks, CEO of VIP Connected pictured with the students of St. Kitts who won the Caribbean All-Star Students essay competition, during their prize
    Trip to New York
    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – CHILDREN continue to walk the right path when various activities are organised to encourage their intellect whilst reminding them of what is important in life.


    VIP Connected Entertainment, a full-source international entertainment company that has hosted several concerts with top of the line artistes in St. Kitts, created the Caribbean All Star Student Global (CAS Global).


    The purpose of CAS Global is to give students the opportunity to enhance their academic skills and creative thinking abilities by learning about different social and economic events as well as social studies abroad.


    It was also created to get students thinking creatively and to exercise their writing skills and abilities.


    The CEO of VIP, Julie ‘Lexy’ Brooks, said that she first came up with the idea for CAS Global in 2007.

     “VIP Connected Entertainment has always given back to the community after each concert that we put on and, in 2007, after our Spring Bling concert I came up with the idea on a flight from Puerto Rico to New York,” she said. “I mean the ideas just kept flowing and I kept writing. To tell you the truth, by the time I landed at JFK I had a brand new company on paper and it was Caribbean All-Star Students.”


    Brooks said that CAS Global is a non-profit organisation based in New York and is an essay writing competition given to primary and secondary school students.


    The programme is designed to get students thinking creatively and to exercise their writing skills and abilities.


    “We want to remind students of what is important in life such as heritage and culture, family and taking pride in their communities,” she said. “Our four essay topics derived from ‘What Does Family and Family Values mean to you?’ ‘Who is your role model and why?’ ‘What changes would you like to see made in your community?’ and, finally, ‘What does Heritage and Culture means to you?’


    “Growing up in Jamaica, I wish I had a programme such as this available to me at my school. 

    We feel that it is imperative for students to explore new places and new ideas at an early age to help broaden their horizon.”


    The first essay writing competition started in St. Kitts in April 2007 and ran in schools around the island for two months.


    Brooks said they contacted the Ministry of Education, which after hearing about their intentions, gave them the green light on the project.


    “After reviewing our proposal, the Ministry of Education assigned Mr. Micheal Blake to liaise with us and he was quite instrumental with helping us on the ground,” Brooks said. “Mr. Blake assisted us from beginning to end and for that we are grateful.”


    She added that they collected 20 essays from the schools and four were selected as the winners.
    The selected students were also assisted with their travel documents and visas by VIP, which they needed in order to travel to New York as their prize trip along with a chaperon.   ~~Adz:Right~~


    The students, Myisha McDonald of the Violet Petty Primary, Rhonielle Lewis of St. Paul’s Primary, Xiaoyu Harris of Dieppe Bay Primary and Bronsyl Magnus Blake-Esdaille of Beach Allen Primary, travelled along with their chaperon Michelle Patrick-Powell.


    They were treated to an all expense paid trip to New York, along with a certificate from CAS and school supplies.


    While in New York, they visited several landmarks including the St. Kitts Tourism office, Ground zero (World Trade Center), Metropolitan Museum of Art and Natural History, Empire State Building, Columbia University, Time Square, Mars 2112 and the New York Public Library.


     “We greeted them with balloons at the John F. Kennedy Airport and took them to their hotel at the Hilton (Double Tree). I remember one of the students being so excited that he ran and jumped on his bed and said, ‘Wow my very own hotel room’. That made me smile to see the students so excited to be in New York and to know that we made that happen.”


    Brooks said the competition would return to St. Kitts and Nevis, depending on the amount of requests they receive from the Federation as they already have other countries scheduled to be a part of the event.

    “I would encourage those students and their teachers who were not aware of the competition to visit the website ( and request that their country be added next year or in 2010,” she said. “The more requests we receive the more likely we are to repeat the programme in that country, sooner rather than later.”


    The mission of CAS Global is to include as many islands as they possibly can over the coming years.
    “We will certainly be repeating the islands where the programme was already cast to give more students in different schools an opportunity to take part in the project,” she said.


    Brooks said earlier this year she had travelled to several islands to introduce CAS and was very pleased at the welcome she received for the programme.


    “Starting with Guyana, I met with a government official, Mr. Kwame McCoy, and he was so excited about CAS coming to Guyana that he offered some ideas of his own. I also met and spoke with the Prime Minister of Dominica and he felt that the project will have a positive impact on the students there. Also, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Antigua, St. Vincent, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are all set for 2009-2010.”


    “In 2011/2012, with the assistance of Wyclef Jean, we hope to run the competition in Haiti as well as Grenada, Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Thomas/St. Croix, Montserrat, and Bahamas will also be included.”
    The competition will be held in four countries each year, with two islands in the first quarter and two in the second quarter.


    “We would also like to include other destinations as part of the all expense paid trip such as Orlando and the United Kingdom.”


    Brooks also extended thanks and appreciation to the sponsors and individuals who became a part of the project and for their assistance. The list includes American Airlines and American Eagle, ZIZ, Tony Matterhorn,, MARS2112-NY, Michael Blake.


    For more information, or to join CAS Global, one can visit their web site visit at .




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