Coral Bay Job Club Students Demonstrate Impressive Public Speaking Skills


Coral Bay Job Club instructor Bonny Corbeil, at far right, poses with students and Rotary Club of St. John President Joan Bermingham, standing at far left, and member Helen Simon, second from left.

Coral Bay Job Club students showed off their public speaking and job interview skills in a presentation for Rotary Club of St. John President Joan Bermingham.

While there are no classes at Guy Benjamin School this summer, 10 students were perched in their chairs in Room Six at the Coral Bay elementary school last week politely listening to the speaker.

“My name is LaTiah Jackson and I am hardworking and punctual,” Jackson told the class. “I have experience watching my little cousins and I really enjoy it. I would like a job baby-sitting.”

Jackson is one of the 11 students between the ages of 14 and 18 taking part in the Coral Bay Job Club, a three week program led by Coral Bay Community Council board member Bonny Corbeil.

Coral Bay Job Club is not a summer camp. The job skills program is funded through a Department of Labor grant which allows the students to earn $15 per day of class they attend. Coral Bay Job Club meets Monday through Thursday and wraps up its third week this Thursday, August 1.

“You can’t be late to Job Club,” said Corbeil. “If you know you are going to be late you must call if you can. Of course the students don’t get paid if they don’t’ attend, but by calling they are showing responsibility.”

Since none of the students have their own transportation, getting to and from the class can be tricky, Corbeil added.

“You know the bus doesn’t always run and we have three students who come from Cruz Bay out here,” she said. “I had one student call when he didn’t have a ride and thought he would be late. But he ended up here one hour early because he knows how important it is to be punctual and gave himself extra time to get a ride.”

Once the students arrive at Coral Bay Job Club, they are expected to have a positive attitude and contribute to the class, Corbeil explained.

“We’ve been focused on our resumes, our one minute speeches and developing marketable job skills,” she said. “All of these kids really want to work and earn some money. And they’ve been working really hard on how to handle a job interview and how you only have one opportunity to make an impression.”

This is the second summer which Corbeil has offered the class to local students. The program was so popular, in fact that many of the students who took part last year signed up again; and their enthusiasm is infectious.

“I like this program because there are lots of kind people,” said Raven Phillips-Love. “We are all here to help each other  and learn job skills.”

“I took the class again because I thought I needed more experience working on my job skills,” said LaTiah Jackson. “I’ve learned that every job is a good job and how important it is to have a positive attitude.”

Loran Jackson, a recent graduate of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School who will study at University of the Virgin Islands next year, is another Coral Bay Job Club graduate who came back this year. But Jackson is not a student, instead he’s helping Corbeil as a teacher’s assistant.

“I really liked this program last year and I wanted to come back again and help out,” said Jackson. “We’re getting the information out a lot faster this year and the students are really doing great.”

Coral Bay Job Club students last week were demonstrating their impressive one minute speeches, a quick introduction in a clear voice which tells someone about themselves and their interests. On Thursday morning, July 25, that “someone” was Rotary Club of St. John president Joan Bermingham and Rotary member Helen Simon.
Rotary donated funds to Coral Bay Job Club last year for the group to purchase a video camera, which students use to record role play job interviews and review their skills. By the end of the program Corbeil hopes to have recorded every students’ one minute speech, she explained.
In addition to thanking Rotary for the donation and showing off their newly mastered public speaking skills, the students got the chance to learn about the Rotary organization from Bermingham.
While there might be a few future Rotarians in the Coral Bay Job Club, there certainly are future Pickles in Paradise customers. Students toured the Coral Bay eatery last week and learned all about the running and managing of the establishment, explained Corbeil.
“Bev was fantastic and she had all of her staff come out and talk to us,” said Corbeil. “We even toured the new pottery studio and Gail even demonstrated how to make a piece of pottery.”
Coral Bay Job Club students also heard from guest speaker Jen Dale, a Coral Bay entrepreneur, and chiropractor Dr. Bob DeBonis, who shared the story of his field’s beginnings.
The group will tour the Westin Resort and Villas this week and hear from a Caribbean Villas employee who will talk about the important villa management and other tourism based businesses.
“The hotel industry presents important job opportunities for these students,” said Corbeil. “And we have one of the best customer service representatives on this island coming to talk to the students about how important the tourism industry is.”
Corbeil, an entrepreneur herself who has owned restaurants in the past and currently owns and runs Bonny’s Better Management Company, also practices what she preaches. Two of the Coral Bay Job Club students are now employees of her management company.
Judging by the impressive skills demonstrated by the eager students in Coral Bay Job Club, many more will soon be successful employees as well.
CBCC environmental projects manager Patricia Reed also helped with this year’s Coral Bay Job Club, Corbeil added.