STELLA Maris Preparatory School scored big in the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA)/British High Commission essay competition, which had its awards ceremony last Thursday.
The St Andrew-based independent school walked away with six new laptop computers, while two of its students — Nikolai-Jae Chung-Skully and Roshaun Robinson — each earned for themselves a tablet and a trophy for essays in which they expressed the significance of this year’s Olympic Games being held in London, and that of Jamaica's participation in the historic event.
Stella Maris was won in two age categories — seven to nine years and 10 to 12 years. Chung-Skully and Robinson was first in the respective categories.
The other winning school in the competition was St Mary High, whose Andwayne Davis and Shellice Tyson placed first and second in the 13-17- year-old group.
The tiny Chung-Skully impressed the audience when he read his prize-winning essay. With quotes from reggae icon Bob Marley and dancehall artiste Mavado, and including Usain Bolt's famous “to the world” pose, he spoke about Jamaica's achievements in previous stagings of the Olympics, starting with the 1948 Games in London. It also spoke to the expectations for great performances starting next month.
For Robinson, the prizes have made the many late nights she spent preparing worthwhile.
“It was worth the effort. Sometimes I went to bed at 11:30 pm while preparing for this competition, but I do have a tablet and a huge trophy and a got to shake the high commissioner's hand, so I think it's a plus,” she said.
JOA member and coordinator of the competition Yvonne Kong said 70 entries were received. They were each marked out of 20, with 10 marks for content and five marks each for language and organisation.
Also receiving a prize Thursday was Dawnelle Gilzean for her entry in the High Commission's Facebook contest on how Britain is preparing for the Games. For her troubles, she was awarded a flat-screen television.
Addressing the prizewinners, along with their teachers and parents, British High Commissioner Howard Drake emphasised the importance to Jamaica of the Olympic Games. He noted that many Jamaicans and their descendants in Britain were “excited at the prospect of Usain (Bolt) and company cleaning up in front of them” at the event.
The high commissioner also underscored the significance of the year 2012, it being the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence, and the 60th anniversary of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne.
“What all this signifies is a really fantastic celebration of the great relationship between our two countries,” he said.
The British envoy also thanked his staff and the JOA for their collaboration on the competition and expressed pleasure that the entries and award winners came from all over the island.
“We tried to involved youth in what the Olympics is all about. It's about young people and values through sport,” he said.
Deputy high commissioner Graham Glover, in his remarks, said there was a synchronicity of ideas between the High Commission and the JOA on what should be done to highlight the Olympics in the UK.
He thanked the winners and said the prizes would help them “open new areas of their learning and help them realise their full potential.”