“Proud to be recognised at a young age” is the collective sentiment expressed by the 2022 Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage Competition winners.
The youngsters were awarded for their outstanding submissions in the essay, poster, graphics and photo categories, emerging victorious in the field of candidates from schools islandwide.
Their entries depicted Jamaica’s greatest accomplishments over the past 60 years of Independence, which was the competition’s theme.
Chetwood Memorial Primary School’s Shadair Green, who won the essay competition, says: “I feel proud that I have accomplished something in life in primary school. I know that I did well, and I know that I accomplished something wonderful.”
The 10-year-old explains that it was her second time entering the contest, pointing out that she enjoys writing.
Shadair, who says she was drawn to the competition due to her writing skills and performance in class, shares her view about the country’s greatest accomplishment throughout the last 60 years, as depicted in her entry.
“In my opinion, Jamaica’s greatest achievement over that time is in the field of sports. Jamaica’s athletes, such as Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, did so well and they are recognised throughout the globe,” she says.
“I was expecting to be the winner this year because of my teacher, Ms. Webb, who guided me throughout the essay. She is a great writer, and I am a great writer too, so both of us can accomplish anything together,” the aspiring podiatrist tells JIS News.
For Cornwall College’s D’André Granston, winner of the grade-seven-to-nine poster category, “It feels amazing to win and I feel like I achieved something great in my life, so far.”
The 13-year-old, who says he had never previously entered a national competition, chose to participate in the JIS event because of the opportunity he saw to display his talent.
Outlining the focus of his submission, he said: “I basically chose everything that Jamaica is known for – our National Heroes, our athletes, our dishes and our national icons.”
Based on his experience in the contest, D’André encourages his peers to enter the next edition.
“I actually have a lot of other friends that can draw, as well, and I already asked them if they’re going to enter the competition and told them to ask their teacher to join,” he says.
Another Cornwall College student, Jonovi Anthony Gayle, won the graphics competition.
“I am very proud of myself,” he tells JIS News, pointing out that it was his teacher who saw his talent and encouraged him to enter.
The grade-11 student, who wants to be a graphics designer, explained that “my graphics had multiple elements of Jamaican culture”.
“But I made most of them grey scale. So they weren’t as prominent as the depiction of Usain Bolt in bright Jamaican colours on his track suit, representing what I think is Jamaica’s greatest achievement – sports,” he points out.
Jonovi says his entry also depicted Jamaican music, through Bob Marley and the arts, through Louise Bennett-Coverley as other areas of significant achievement for post-independent Jamaica.
Overall, Jonovi says it was “a very fun competition”, which afforded him a great opportunity to celebrate the nation’s achievements.
Herbert Morrison Technical High School’s John-Michael Ramsay is “feeling great”, having won the grade-10-to-13 poster category in his third time entering the competition.
“I like competing and I like what the competition is about and what it stands for,” says the grade-13, upper-sixth-form student.
Among his prizes was a course of study at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, which he says he intends to pursue. He also has interests in becoming an engineer.
University of the West Indies student, Roshielle Powell, is no stranger to the JIS Heritage Competition and, for 2022, was the winning candidate in the photography category.
“I feel happy and accomplished. I entered in 2021 and came second. So, for 2022, I was really happy that I came first,” Roshielle tells JIS News.
The final-year Digital Media Production student says her entry did not take the popular approach, after contemplating what to depict as Jamaica’s greatest accomplishment.
“Usually, a lot of people identify our accomplishments as sports. But I wanted to highlight something that probably isn’t prominently represented in our culture, but it’s there,” she explains.
“My topic was Jamaican women in business, because I read an article that said [Jamaica is] ranked the highest in the world for having the most women in executive positions. I found it to be a very good accomplishment for Jamaican females, so I highlighted that in the photograph,” she adds.
An International Labour Organization (ILO) report indicated that Jamaica has the highest proportion of female managers in the world, with women accounting for 59.3 per cent of persons occupying such positions.
The JIS Heritage Competition winners received their prizes during a presentation ceremony at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, in December.
They received trophies, cash prizes, complimentary vacations, gift baskets, brunch tickets, plaques, free courses, and certificates, among other prizes.
The competition was established in 2011 and continues to be a platform for young people to voice their opinions on issues of national importance and widen their knowledge about Jamaica’s Heritage.
The contest was sponsored by Boone Hall Oasis, Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), CPTC/Media Technology Institute, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Frame Art Jamaica, Franklyn D. Resort, GK Insurance, Innovative Corporate Solutions, GraceKennedy Limited, WB Trophies Limited, and T Cell and More.