Kirk El­liott Pho­tog­ra­phy Gifts Ed­u­ca­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

In­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed St Lu­cia pho­tog­ra­pher Kirk El­liott was in­vited ear­lier this month by the Pi­ton Man­age­ment Area (PMA) to ad­dress the res­i­dents of Fond Gens Li­bres at the base of Gros Pi­ton in Soufriere. Many of the tour guides for the Gros Pi­ton Na­ture Trail hail from that com­mu­nity and El­liott was in­vited to ad­dress them on ac­count of his St Lu­cia Photo Tour’s re­cent Tri­pAd­vi­sor Cer­tifi­cate of Ex­cel­lence award.

The theme of El­liott’s ad­dress was “Ex­plor­ing Link­ages Be­tween Sus­tain­able Tourism Ac­tiv­i­ties & Eco­nomic Gain For Lo­cal En­trepreneurs”.

El­liott shared some of the tourism best prac­tices he uses in busi­ness to achieve the ul­ti­mate visi­tor ex­pe­ri­ence re­counted on Tri­pAd­vi­sor in re­views from his ec­static clients. More than one visi­tor has de­cided on a Saint Lu­cia va­ca­tion over other des­ti­na­tions, just so they could take the St Lu­cia Photo Sa­fari ex­cur­sion based solely on Kirk’s online rep­u­ta­tion.

He also ex­plored chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties with res­i­dents and was par­tic­u­larly moved by the in­put of Mr. Fran­cis Alexan­der who spoke about want­ing to see a schol­ar­ship fund cre­ated for the chil­dren of Fond Gens Li­bres. Be­ing a strong ad­vo­cate of ed­u­ca­tion as a vi­tal key to ca­pac­ity build­ing, poverty re­duc­tion and wealth cre­ation, El­liott im­me­di­ately pledged money to­wards the best per­form­ing stu­dent from the com­mu­nity who had passed the re­cent Com­mon En­trance exam.

Young Tamie Alexan­der was the only child from the com­mu­nity who sat Com­mon En­trance this year and she now proudly at­tends the Choiseul Sec­ondary School. In a sim­ple com­mu­nity cer­e­mony, El­liott pre­sented a cheque for $600 to Tamie and her mother, Marie Wil­liams, and en­cour­aged Tamie to be the best that she can be, point­ing out that she will reap the re­wards of her ef­forts in years to come.

As fur­ther en­cour­age­ment to per­form, El­liott then took Tamie, ac­com­pa­nied by her tour guide sis­ter, Ms Marvel Charles, to the Fond St. Jac­ques Co-op­er­a­tive Credit Union where he opened an ac­count for her and en­cour­aged her to let this be the start of her nur­tur­ing and growth of money just like a prized fruit tree that is wa­tered and cared for. Ms Vic­to­ria Hip­polyte of the Fond St. Jac­ques Co-op­er­a­tive Credit Union thanked Kirk for his gen­eros­ity.

“I was 12 years old, just like you, when I re­ceived $5 as a birth­day gift from my ‘St. Lu­cia mom’ - Ms Rety Graham of Rety’s Place out­side GFL Charles Air­port,” El­liott told Tamie. “I opened a bank ac­count with the money and have kept a sav­ings ac­count since that day and I hope this seed money will be the cat­a­lyst that inspires you, Tamie, just like I was inspired back then.”

Marie Wil­liams, Tamie’s mother, thanked Kirk El­liott Pho­tog­ra­phy for the gift of ed­u­ca­tion for her daugh­ter, say­ing she will help Tamie make the best of this op­por­tu­nity “even if it means tak­ing her tablet away from her!”

El­liott promised to fol­low up on how Tamie per­forms in school and has pledged to con­tinue the $500 an­nual bur­sary as long as she main­tains an an­nual class av­er­age of at least 75%.

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