RICHAYDO Farquharson, 14, was this past week recognised for his accomplishments as a young entrepreneur with a Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica.
The teen held his head high as he stood with the 13 individuals who were honoured for their own accomplishments in science, arts, literature, and music.
Among them were the celebrated poet, academician and former University of the West Indies (UWI) orator Professor Edward Baugh; world-renowned gynaecologist and obstetrician, Professor Horace Fletcher; illustrious painter, Professor Bryan McFarlane; and the organisers of the 'rootsy-intellectual' Calabash International Literary Festival, Collin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell.
Acknowledging his Rastafari roots with a salute as he was given his medal and presented with his citation by Minister of Education Reverend Ronald Thwaites, the Porus High School student stood proudly beside his mother Charmaine Stobbs, who bowed and gently kissed the hand of the minister in her show of gratitude.
At 14 years old, Richaydo is the youngest recipient of the award since the category was introduced some 12 years ago for young people between the ages of 15 and 30, who have displayed outstanding scholarship, creativity and discipline in the fields of science, literature and the arts.
"I am feeling very good," the youth said shyly.
"I have to give thanks to the Almighty because if it was not for him, none of us could be here, and none of this could go on, so give thanks to the Most High Jah Rastafari!" his mother added.
Principal of Porus High Michael Stewart, who witnessed Richaydo's receipt of the award, was unreserved in his praise for the youngster.
"The members of our school family and indeed the entire community of Porus are extremely thrilled by this accolade. We are very proud of him and will continue to give him all the support he needs to experience even more success," he said.
It's been an eventful summer for the young businessman, who in July was awarded the Best Business Plan Trophy at the Young Entrepreneurs "I am the Change" camp.
The camp was organised by the Jamaica National Building Society and the Victoria Mutual Building Society, under their jointly formed organisation, the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF), in tandem with partner, the Digicel Foundation.
At that event, Richaydo walked away with a cash prize to help with the capital for the expansion of his 14-colony apiary, which he manages out of his home in Porus, Manchester.
The "I am Change" initiative, managed by the Kimala Bennett-led team from The Business Lab on behalf of the MBSF and the Digicel Foundation, is a component of the MBSF's comprehensive Centres of Excellence school improvement programme, operated in six rural high schools.
The entrepreneurship programme seeks to promote new thinking and develop innovative approaches to education and career development by empowering students to think creatively and sharpen their business acumen, through their establishment and operation of real businesses in the schools.
"The entrepreneurship programme really helped me to improve my skills," Richaydo acknowledged, pointing to the strategic marketing and project management skills he learnt over the course of the initiative, which is now in its second 16-month cycle in the schools.
With sharpened skills and mounting accolades, Richaydo continues to look at ways to diversify his Jamaica Gold honey brand and expand his operation. He is fine-tuning a marketing strategy for the lotions, hair food and lip balms he has made from the honey and honeycomb and said he will introduce his new creation the "honey straw" in September of next year to his school's tuck shop as he works at perfecting the product.
"I am studying very hard, so I can improve my agricultural skills," the youngster said. "Overtime, I will expand the business."