Royal Bank of Canada Features Young Bahamians in 100th Anniversary Centennial Calendar

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The Royal Bank of Canada and RBC FINCO celebrated with the young artists featured in their 100th Anniversary Centennial Calendar. Posing in front of the art displayed in the calendar: Vice President and Country Head for The Bahamas, Nathaniel Beneby Jr.; Nancy McDonald; Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel; Managing Director of RBC FINCO, Tanya McCartney and Head of Caribbean Banking at RBC, Ross McDonald. (Photo/Derek Smith)

By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, Bahamas –— Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel recently expressed pride that the Royal Bank of Canada and RBC FINCO highlighted the works of students in their 100th Anniversary Centennial 2008 Calendar.

The artistic creations featured in the calendar are works students from throughout The Bahamas produced for the 2007 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations and during the 2007 RBC FINCO Summer Arts Workshops.

“By celebrating these budding artists, you have shown them recognition and also that there is a future in the fine arts and they possess a gift that others can appreciate,” Mr. Bethel said at a “Evening of the Arts” honouring the 14 young artists featured in the calendar.

Honourees and guests were entertained throughout the night by apprentices and members of the Bahamas Concert Orchestra, the Bahamas National Youth Choir, the National Dance Company of The Bahamas and the RBC Voices Choir.

The Minister told those in attendance, “We need more opportunities for our young people to express themselves and to feel a sense of worth from a very early age.”

“I am certain that you have made these young people proud and by extension, their families, schools and community by showcasing their work to the thousands of customers who come through the doors of the RBC branches throughout our Bahamas.”

Mr. Bethel said many young persons, who have been benefited from your generosity, have made a name for themselves locally and internationally.

“Their works that once hung in the Central Bank of The Bahamas, now grace the walls of private homes, major hotels and art collections throughout the world.”

He said the Ministry of Education is embarking on major reforms in education in public schools that should allow among other things, “artistic and creative students” to receive the attention they need to be successful in the career path they chose.
“Beginning September 2009, we expect to expand the Performing Arts and Visual Arts Programme to all public schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama and in the Family Islands.”

Minister Bethel commended the Royal Bank of Canada and RBC FINCO for supporting education in the country. Mr. Bethel noted that the institutions have recently donated $1 million to The College of The Bahamas and $400,000 for scholarships.

Vice President and Country Head of RBC for The Bahamas, Nathaniel Beneby Jr. explained that nearly a year ago Nancy McDonald, the wife of Ross McDonald, Head of Caribbean Banking, came up with the idea to create a calendar showcasing the artistic talent of Bahamian students.

Mr. Beneby said, “At RBC we recognise that art is a powerful tool for learning – one that enhances critical thinking, communication skills and cultural awareness.

“As a company we are especially pleased to youth development – in fact, the RBC FINCO Summer Arts Workshop, where many of the paintings in this calendar were produced, is only one of the many youth programmes that we supported throughout The Bahamas.”

He explained that RBC regards these programmes as investments in the youths, and they expect these investments to yield important returns for the entire community.