- Cornwall College student, Curtis Clennon, was determined to win the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage Poster Competition this year, after two previous tries, in which he placed second last year.
- This year, however, the 18-year-old doubled down on his efforts and finally hoisted the winning trophy at the presentation ceremony in Kingston on November 25.
- In an interview with JIS News, Curtis says he was confident of a win this time around.
Cornwall College student, Curtis Clennon, was determined to win the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage Poster Competition this year, after two previous tries, in which he placed second last year.
This year, however, the 18-year-old doubled down on his efforts and finally hoisted the winning trophy at the presentation ceremony in Kingston on November 25.
In an interview with JIS News, Curtis says he was confident of a win this time around.
“The win was expected. I didn’t see much competition, but I still thank God that I won,” he adds.
“The first time I entered the Heritage Poster Competition, I was in grade seven, and I didn’t place at all. I was one of the outstanding awardees, but I wasn’t placed in the top three. The second time I tried I came second, now I am the winner,” Curtis says.
A resident of Catadupa in St. James, he notes that his win came as no surprise to his family members, as they are accustomed to him winning contests.
“You can only come first or second, I am not worried,” his father said to him when he entered the competition.
Among the prizes he won last year was a scholarship to pursue a course at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, which, Curtis admits, was the inspiration for him re-entering the competition this year.
“When I heard that I came first I was very happy [because] I got the scholarship to do Still Photography [at the Media Technology Institute (MTI)]. I am very happy with the prizes I got,” he says.
The other prizes that Curtis received were a trophy, $15,000, a plaque, a gift basket, day passes for two to RIU Resort Montego Bay in St. James, as well as books about Reparation.
He also admits that the theme, ‘Reparation’, intrigued him. As such, he was confident about his ability to put together a poster that would perfectly outline his understanding of the topic.
The student says he was not completely knowledgeable about the reparation debate, and credits his father for making him aware of some of the details.
“He is always talking about those things, and because of him, I was aware, but it wasn’t something that I knew a lot about at the time. I got background information from him. I also discussed it with my Social Studies and Visuals Arts teachers, then we conceptualised a great poster,” Curtis tells JIS News.
He admits, further, that researching reparation in order to put his poster together sparked a new-found interest in the topic.
“It is a very strong topic, as it relates to the Caribbean and the people that oppressed us, and I believe that Jamaica should get reparation. The competition has piqued my interest and I do intend to research further,” the student says.
He notes that the challenge he encountered was how to depict reparation on the poster itself; however, understanding the topic itself was not a problem.
Meanwhile, Curtis tells JIS News that recent developments, including his entry in the poster competition, have diverted his mind from his previous ambition of becoming a doctor.
“My first [goal] was medicine, but lately I am seeing that this is not the path for me. Because of my artistic talent, I was told that I am destined to go into architecture, so that is what I am currently trying to pursue. I am now majoring in science at high school, but I am planning to pursue further education [in the relevant subjects], probably in upper six at Cornwall College or abroad,” he says.
Curtis currently holds several positions at his school, including President of the Science and Energy Club and the Visual Arts Club, Public Relations Officer and Activities Coordinator of the Photography Club, and Treasurer of the Interact Club.
For his part, Principal of Cornwall College, Michael Ellis, commends Curtis on his victory, noting that while the school places emphasis on students doing well academically, “we also put emphasis on co-curricular activities, and what he (Curtis) has done fits perfectly into the tradition of Cornwall College”.
“Cornwall boys are generally multifaceted…; they are not just brilliant boys in academia. When you call on them to lend their talents to sports and culture, they are usually ahead of the game,” Mr. Ellis tells JIS News.
He points out that Curtis’ climb from second place last year to first this year is a testament of his resilience and “his wanting to strive for mastery, so he would not settle for second, but to be the winner”.
“From the administrative perspective, I have to commend him and his teachers who worked with him, and even his peers who motivated him,” Mr. Ellis says.
Visual Arts teacher at Cornwall College, Lesandrea Archer Morgan, who guided Curtis through the process of the competition, tells JIS News that she was not surprised that he won.
“I want to congratulate Curtis. He is a very hard-working student, who is intrinsically motivated. You get him on by discussing ideas with him and then he will work independently to get it completed,” Mrs. Morgan says.
She adds that she expected Curtis to win last year, and was even more confident this year of a victory.
“Whenever we enter a competition, I am very positive he will win because of the level of work and interest that he puts in,” Mrs. Morgan says.
Curtis’ father, Ian Clennon, tells JIS News that his son’s win was expected. “After observing the quality work that he had done from the inception [of the competition] I was impressed,” Mr. Clennon says.
Commenting on his son’s love of art, he says: “I think it is a God-given talent that he has, so I encourage and support him as much as I can.”
As part of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) 2019 Heritage Competition, students were required to demonstrate their understanding of reparation in the Jamaican context.
The annual JIS Heritage competition was open to students attending primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, who were invited to submit entries in the essay, poster and photography categories, respectively.
The poster component was open to high-school students, who were required to submit graphic designs or illustrations.
Posters were judged on interpretation of the topic, originality, creativity, artistry and presentation.