First Look

High School students respond in diGJamaica Essay Competition



Gleaner Online, Gleaner Company | 2013-10-07 00:00:00

Jamaica recently marked her 51st anniversary of independence and, in honour of this achievement, diGJamaica.com, The Gleaner’s online information resource, hosted the Independence/Back-to-School Essay Competition for high school students. The competition, which ran from August 4 to September 6, asked students to expound on the topic, Jamaica at 51: A True Democracy?

Eighteen-year-old, Danniel Brown, an upper 6th form Wolmerian, walked away with the top prize of a Huawei Media Pad Android tablet. Another Wolmerian, Mickella Anderson, a lower sixth former, claimed the second prize of $2,500 credit and a free quarter’s subscription to The Gleaner Archives. Third place went to Keri Morgan, a 16-year-old upper 6th form student at Glenmuir High School in Clarendon, who won $2,500 credit.

“Placing in the top three of this competition has been a very rewarding experience. This essay prompted me to research and analyse aspects of Jamaican politics which I have found to be both thought-provoking and enlightening,” said Morgan.

“To be awarded second place is something to smile about, so I am proud of myself. [The topic] was one that afforded me the opportunity to learn stuff I didn’t know before,” said Anderson. “It was a very interesting topic and I put my heart into it.”

“I am elated and grateful that I was chosen as the top prize winner,” said Brown, who was all smiles as she received her prize.

In their essays, Brown and Morgan argued that Jamaica is indeed a democracy, based on its political structure, regular elections and the various avenues available for the voices of citizens to be heard. Morgan argued, “In Jamaica, democracy lies beyond a set of constitutional rules and procedures, dictating how the government operates. Rather, democracy promotes freedom and empowerment for a nation. At the very core of our societal structure is the consciousness of human rights. Jamaicans know that they are obligated to equity, equality and the right to liberal expression of opinions.”

Brown wrote: “After careful analysis, it can indeed be said that it is necessary for change to be initiated within this nation in order to strengthen and develop it. Change in this country is initiated by the people, for the people’s best interests.”

Anderson, however, believes that “the supreme power” characteristic of democratic government “is in no way vested in the Jamaican people.” She argued, “Other than election day, the voice of the Jamaican people remains very limited, acceptable action in regards to their plights is seldom taken by leaders and it seems the only way to be heard is to stage onerous protests and plead to the authorities.”

The essays were judged for content and clarity of argument, organisation and grammar, as well as the use and integration of references, particularly information gathered from diGJamaica.com. The three winning essays will be published during the month of October on the diGJamaica blog (digjamaica.com/blog) and in upcoming issues of YouthLink magazine.

 




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