St James student is national reading champ
MONTEGO BAY, St James
GABRIELLE Annon, an 11-year-old immediate past student of the Mt Alvernia Preparatory School in Montego Bay, is the Jamaica Library Service National 2014 Reading Champion for the nine to 11 age group.
She topped the other contestants in the finals of the competition held at the studios of Television Jamaica (TVJ) last week.
Gabrielle has won for herself numerous prizes including trophies, cash prizes and the TVJ bursary, which covers several school-related expenses.
Started in 1988, the National Reading Competition is an annual event organised by the Jamaica Library Service.
Competitors islandwide go through a series of testing and eliminations until parish champions are selected. These champions then compete in the national finals, which is assessed in two parts — a written test and buzzer challenge.
Gabrielle, who also received the only sectional prize in her age category for the best story ending, was ecstatic about her win.
"I feel so proud that I managed to rise to the very top and be called Champion, but it took a lot of intense preparation," she told the Jamaica Observer West.
"I was coached by my mom and grandma, who were awesome, and who read the books over and over with me and I tried to memorise nearly every detail in each book, as we worked for long hours. I hardly had a summer vacation, but winning the championship has made it all worth it."
Gabrielle, who is the daughter of Montego Bay attorney-at-law, Radeon Archer, will attend the Montego Bay High School for Girls in September.
A proud Archer told the Observer West that her daughter, whom she describes as warm and soft-spoken, has an intense zest to succeed.
"I named my daughter 'Gabrielle' partly because I loved the meaning of the name -- 'God is my strength', and she is indeed a strong person," said Archer, adding that "I sometimes call her my gentle giant."
During the past academic year, Gabrielle represented Mt Alvernia Prep in the TVJ's Junior Schools' Challenge Quiz and was later adjudged third place in Jamaica in the Lay Magistrates' Association of Jamaica Essay Competition.