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JIS News

Eighteen-year old Salome Messam of Orlando and 12-year-old Briana M. Wright of Miramar, are the winners of the annual Jamaica Independence Essay Competition organized by the Miami office of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Salome, who was born in the island and Briana, a second generation Jamaican, will be presented with congratulatory plaques from Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Ricardo Allicock.
The students, who were selected from entries received in the age categories 13 through 18 and nine through 12, chose their winning entries from a selection of six topics relating to the history and culture of Jamaica.
The essays, which also challenged the students to address issues affecting the Jamaican overseas communities, included topics such as community leadership, public service, entertainment, education, history, culture, geography and national development.
Salome gave her impression of how Jamaicans in the Diaspora have contributed to nation building, while Briana wrote of the outstanding work of charitable organizations in her area.
A graduate of Papine High School in St. Andrew, Salome recently migrated to the Orlando area. She said she found out about the competition while browsing the web. Salome is enrolled as a freshman at Valencia Community College in Central Florida for the fall semester, where she will pursue studies as a computer analyst. She also does poetry writing.
Briana, whose father is a Jamaican, said she was encouraged by her sister to enter the competition. She has expressed a desire to be more involved in her community and has visited Jamaica on several occasions to see her extended family.
A runner-up in the recent Miss Jamaica Florida Ambassadors 2007, Briana is a sixth grader at St. Francis Xavier School and attends the Antioch Baptist Church.
Now in its seventh year, the Jamaica Independence Essay Competition is open to first and second generation Jamaican children residing in Florida.
The competition forms part of activities to mark the annual Independence celebrations in Florida and is intended to advance community awareness while exposing young Jamaicans to their roots.