Farm Heights wins SDC ‘Reach The Youth’ quiz competition
ST JAMES, Jamaica – Farm Heights in St James walked away as champions of the Social Development Commission (SDC) ‘Reach the Youth’ Quiz Competition, held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in Sam Sharpe Square on Wednesday, August 16.
The victors beat Goodwill 82-59 in the three-section match of the final round to cop the coveted title in the competition that saw more than 16 teams competing over three months.
“We feel very ecstatic because we have been working hard, studying and putting in the hard work. So, we definitely feel very good about the win,” said a member of the Farm Heights team, Aniska Christie.
She said it has been a holistic journey throughout the competition where team members went from being unsure if they should participate to buckling down in the evenings to study and have a shot at victory.
What made Farm Heights a top contender was the diverse background of its members, who were pulled from different areas of the community, according to Christie.
“A number of our team members work, so we met up at a time convenient that provided us with the opportunity to learn more about the parish and competition as well as learn more about each other. So, it was definitely a holistic journey,” Christie explained.
“My major takeaway from the competition would be learning more about the country. I was really interested in learning more, especially about the National Identification System (NIDS),” she added.
Christie noted that the team members do not intend to rest on their laurels and will continue to meet periodically to study in preparation to defend their crown at the next event.
Additionally, she indicated that the Farm Heights quiz team will be recruiting more members to increase their chances of success.
On the other hand, Rose Hall placed third in the competition, having beaten Retirement 58-31 in the third and fourth playoff.
Social Development Commission (SDC) Parish Manager for St James, Randy Hayle, explained that the quiz competition was aimed at bridging the gap between the youth and their communities, kindling their interest in community-based activities, while nurturing their leadership potential.
He pointed out that the friendly event targeted youth from 14 to 29 years old, where some 250 youngsters across 40 teams originally registered to participate but were whittled down to just 16 teams in the end.
Among the teams that participated were Montpelier, Rose Hall, Farm Heights, Princess Street, Norwood, Retirement, Maldon, Sunderland, North Gully, Johns Hall, Mount Carey, Lilliput, Tower Hill, Goodwill, Dumfries and Somerton.
“This competition was designed to serve as an engagement strategy to inspire, educate and motivate the youth to have an interest in youth-centred activities within their respective communities,” Hayle said.
“We all know that youth over the years in St James have been disconnected from a number of things, and in terms of bringing them back into mainstream, we want them to- take up leadership roles and responsibilities in their communities,” he added.
Beyond its engagement aspect, the competition was a reservoir of learning opportunities. Participants were not only vying for victory but also gaining access to new and valuable information.
The topics covered in the quiz spanned a diverse range of developmental areas and entities, ensuring that participants acquired knowledge that enhanced their personal growth as well as equipped them to make meaningful contributions to their communities and Jamaica at large.
Questions were pulled from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Road Safety Unit, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, Restorative Justice, National Solid Waste Management Authority, St James Municipal Corporation, Victim Support Unit, Department of Correctional Services, Jamaica Public Service (JPS), and the National Identification System (NIDS).
“Exposing these youngsters to the vast array of services and opportunities that exist within agencies of government are key takeaways from this competition,” Hayle noted, adding that the next staging will be an even bigger event.
For captain of the Retirement quiz team, Demmisha Lettman, rallying the youth from the community to join in was quite a challenge, but the team persisted in reaching out and managed to gather a group of enthusiastic participants who eventually stepped up to the plate.
Although the team did not clinch the top spot, the members were nonetheless proud of securing a respectable fourth place.
“I would actually say I was surprised about the sportsmanship and cohesiveness. We were serious, interactive, we formed a bond, and I really took the competition as something more. We bonded and created other groups, so it was a good takeaway from this competition,” Lettman explained.
“It teaches you how to work with other people and work as a group. [Also], it feels like you belong somewhere. So, I definitely recommend it (the quiz competition) and at the end of the day, we were not expecting to get any prizes. So that was a good encouragement,” she added.