$1m in prizes for 2023 Graduates Can Fly singing competition
Competition organisers Jeffrey "Agent Sasco" Campbell and Alvin Day share a light moment.

The second annual Graduates Can Fly singing competition will be launched today at the close of Child Month.

Organised by artiste and entrepreneur Jeffrey "Agent Sasco" Campbell and acclaimed speaker and author Alvin Day, the competition aims to empower and re-ignite the innate creativity of young students who are preparing to turn the pages to a new chapter of their scholastic stories.

Open to primary and secondary schools in Jamaica and the Caribbean, the competition last year saw students vying for total cash prizes of $350,000.

Twelve schools participated in hopes of earning the six top prizes.

For 2023, the competition is open to both primary and secondary schools in Jamaica and offers $1,000,000 in cash and musical instruments.

In addition to the cash prizes awarded in 2022, on Teachers' Day in 2021, approximately 26,000 registered Jamaican teachers were given access to free digital copies of the Alvin Day's best-selling book If Caterpillars Can Fly, So Can I, which inspired the moving single titled Caterpillars Can Fly written and recorded by Agent Sasco and his daughter, Lauren "The LC Show" Campbell.

Schools are being encouraged to record their graduates on video for up to a maximum of three minutes at their graduation exercise, singing their rendition of the song. Submission should be made by the schools via e-mail to CaterpillarsCanFly@alvinday.com.

The videos will be uploaded to social media, where voting will take place, beginning July 1, 2023 until midnight on July 15, 2023 with the three primary schools and three secondary schools receiving the highest number of votes being declared the winners on July 31, 2023.

"A major transformation takes place when a caterpillar leaves the vine or the bush, puts on wings and becomes a butterfly and has to take on the big, wide world. Well guess what, a major transformation takes place when a child graduates from primary school to high school or from high school to college or into the corporate space and one of the things that can help with that dramatic transformation is music," Day said.

Agent Sasco, for his part, said: "As I said at the awards ceremony of last year's competition, what's important is if the participants can find in the words of the song what I found in the book with the values and morals, then the winnings would be much more than whatever monetary prize we could ever provide. So my hope for this competition is that the participants will internalise the overall message of the content, which is that you can do things that you're not even certain you are capable of, as a caterpillar you can fly. You have wings and as young people graduating from one stage to the next, the world is yours."

The 2023 Graduates Can Fly singing competition will also feature a part two in light of a Caterpillars Can Fly EP with various artistes to be released next year. A follow-up song for the EP, a duet with LC and Tessanne Chin, is slated for release in November to coincide with National Youth Month in Jamaica. The competition organisers will also be creating a TikTok Open Verse Challenge.

The hope is that both the competition and challenge will help young, talented singers gain invaluable performance and recording opportunities, as the participant with the most likes from the TikTok Open Verse Challenge will be reviewed for a chance to voice on another track.

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