The second annual Graduates Can Fly Singing Competition will be launched today, May 31 to close Child’s Month.
Organised by recording artiste and entrepreneur Jeffrey ‘Agent Sasco’ Campbell and internationally 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 from sixth grade, as well as fifth and sixth form vying for total cash prizes valued at $350,000.00. Twelve schools participated in hopes of earning the six top prizes.
For 2023, the Graduates Can Fly Singing Competition is open to both primary and secondary schools in Jamaica and is offering $1 million 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 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 email to [email protected]. Following review, the videos will be uploaded to social media where voting will take place. The voting period begins on July 1, 2023, and ends at 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.
According to Day, music and singing is a great tool to engage primary and secondary school students alike and help to facilitate transitions which by nature are challenging for youths.
“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.
When contacted about the competition Agent Sasco 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 internalize 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 relaunch of the competition is powered by Catherine’s Peak. The Ministry of Education and Youth, Digicel Foundation, JN Group and The Music Mart have also come on board as partners for the initiative.
In a bulletin to all schools, The Ministry of Education and Youth said it recognises the opportunity that this initiative offers to students as they continue their transformation from caterpillars to butterflies.
They encourage school leaders to sensitize and guide the students who wish to participate. The lyric video for the song can be found on YouTube using the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7ImmvP8FsU.
Prizes for the first-place, second-place and third-place winners, from both primary and secondary institutions, will be awarded at a prize-giving ceremony to be held in August 2023.
The ‘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 later this year 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. This will be open to people worldwide.