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JIS News

Two students in South Florida, are winners of this year’s annual Jamaica Independence Essay Competition.
They are 13 year-old Rhyssa Kathryn-Marie Beckford of Miami, and 18 year-old Christina Pengelley of West Palm Beach.
The competition, now in its eighth year, is organised by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), in Miami, and entries were invited from all Jamaican children, residing in Florida.
This competition forms part of the annual 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.
Miss Beckford wrote an exciting story on her two favorite places in Jamaica and that earned her first place in the age group 9 to 13 years old, while Miss Pengelley placed first in the 13 to 18 age category, with her story about a Jamaican individual who has made an outstanding contribution to her community.
She paid tribute to well-known community activist, Marcia Bodden, a member of the community organisation, Jamaicans of Palm Beach.
In an interview with JIS News, Miss Beckford said she was enthused about entering the Independence Essay Competition, because of her interest in writing stories and poems. A resident of Miami, she enjoys participating in both the Drama and Debate clubs at her school and is also actively involved in the youth group at her church.
Miss Beckford expresses pride in her heritage, because of the island’s vibrant culture and interesting history.
Miss Pengelley is also actively engaged in leadership programmes, through involvement in a community association, school and church youth activities, and interacts regularly with the Jamaican Diaspora through those events.
A second generation Jamaican, Miss Pengelley appreciates reading interesting information about Jamaican people, their culture and heritage.