PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cheryl Wynter (JIS)
August 23, 2005
Three students from schools in South Florida will be awarded shortly as winners of this year’s annual Jamaica Independence Essay Competition in Florida.
They were eight year old, Tomlinson Spencer, residing in Miami, 11 year old Jalyn Antoinette Delancy, also of Miami, and 13 year old Karisa McKenzie of Miramar.
The competition now in its sixth year is organized by Jamaica Information Service in Miami, and invites entries from all Jamaican children, first and second generation and residing in Florida State.
This event forms part of Jamaica’s Independence celebrations in Florida and is intended to advance community awareness while exposing the young Jamaicans to their roots.
All students chose from a selection of seven topics relating to the history and culture of Jamaica.
Master Spencer wrote an exciting story on his two favorite places in Jamaica. Miss Delancy wrote about her most admirable Jamaican hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey while Miss McKenzie penned her impression of the positive impact Jamaican teachers made in the Diaspora.
The topics while relating to the culture and history of Jamaica also challenged the students to address issues affecting the Jamaican overseas communities. Some of these include community leadership, entertainment, education, history and culture, geography and national development.
The winners were selected from some 20 essays received this year.
There are three age categories for applicants between five and 18 years of age and resident in Florida: five to eight (5-8); nine to 12 (9-12) and 13 to18. Master Spencer placed first in the six to eight age category while Miss Delancy emerged as winner in the nine through 12 category; and Miss McKenzie was the winner in the 13-18 age group.
Master Spencer attends the Ludlam Elementary School in Miami and expressed his pride and identity as a second generation Jamaican. He has a large extended family that supported his interest in entering the contest.
A seventh grade student at Herbert Ammons Middle School in Miami, Miss Delancy also expressed how excited she was on hearing she was the winner in the sixth annual essay contest.
Also a second generation Jamaican, Miss Delancy is proud of her Jamaican heritage and has spent time reading and writing on what she describes as the country’s rich culture and history.
She also enjoys quality time with her sisters and parents.
In an interview with JIS News, Miss Delancy expressed how happy she was to be recognized for something that I actually love and enjoy doing.
Miss Karene McKenzie is a freshman starting high school at Nova High School in Fort Lauderdale. She learnt of the competition through her Jamaican teacher, Ms. Loretta, while attending classes at summer school, and she encouraged her to enter.
Miss McKenzie told JIS News that she often discuss with Ms. Loretta, the disparities between Jamaican and American schools and she made her own observation that under less privileged conditions, Jamaican students and teachers seemed to be maintaining better standards. “Therefore, the essay competition gave me the opportunity to express my views on the topic,” she added.
A second-generation Jamaican, she still maintains contact with her many family members still there and visited quite regularly.
The winners will be presented with congratulatory plaques from Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Mr. Ricardo Allicock.