The Bermuda International Business Association announced the winners of its 2010 student essay competition two weeks ago.

Youngsters submitted 500-word articles answering the question, 'What impact can Bermuda's youth have on Bermuda's international business community?'

Essays were judged on the content, the ability to support a position or argument and the use of grammar.

Eight finalists were chosen, with the top three receiving $300, $150 and $50.

First prize went to Tania Gray, 13, of Bermuda High School for Girls, with BHS's Kathleen Watts, 15, in second place.

Joint third were Olivia Joell and Jennifer Ross of the Berkeley Institute.

Here is Ms Watts's second place essay. We will print the other two runners-up on Friday.

International businesses play a big role in Bermuda and its economy. These businesses fuel the economy by providing many job opportunities for Bermudians.

Furthermore, international business also aims to give back to Bermuda's communities by becoming involved and supporting social initiatives.

However, the youth can impact international businesses in both a positive and negative way.

Young Bermudians can positively impact international businesses by becoming active citizens.

Presently youths are volunteering at the aquarium and fundraising for health initiatives but these positive social endeavours should be happening more often.

We should be encouraging Bermuda's youths to reach out to our international businesses for sponsorship funds to create environmentally friendly youth groups.

Allowing this to happen will get young people off the streets and encourage them to help Bermuda's community by setting a good example for future generations.

These youth groups will help businesses by giving them a good public image as being eco-friendly and socially aware.

In Bermuda youths can also have a negative impact on Bermuda's international businesses by engaging in drug usage and gang violence.

Gang violence is the biggest problem we are facing in Bermuda.

It affects international businesses as employees may not feel safe working in a community where youth violence is not under control.

To help this situation the Bermuda Government could set up awareness groups to teach youths the dangers and risks they take by participating in illegal gang and drug activity.

If international businesses feel the government and the youths are actively fighting against gang violence and drug abuse they may be more likely to keep their business in Bermuda.

By funding these sorts of things, Government can make Bermuda a safer island and can help mentor a lot of young Bermudians, thus turning this negative into a positive.

In conclusion, I believe that the youth in Bermuda should be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there and try to set an example for the future generations by increasing the positive impacts we have on international businesses and getting rid of the negative impacts we have on these businesses.

Bermudians as a whole should take advantage of the opportunities that we have, such as financial aid for students and working professionals to continue their education and the social programmes funded by many international businesses.

There are currently more international workers promoting clubs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters when there should be more Bermudians looking to inspire our youths.

Hopefully by becoming more involved as a nation, Bermuda and its youths can put together a united front that will work to keep international businesses in Bermuda and excited to help our economy and island prosper.