JIS News

Three students from schools in South Florida will shortly be awarded as winners of this year’s annual Jamaica Independence Essay Competition in that state.
They are eight year-old Tomlinson Spencer, residing in Miami, 11 year-old Jalyn Antoinette Delancy, also of Miami, and 13 year- old Karisa McKenzie of Miramar.
The competition now in its sixth year is organized by the Jamaica Information Service in Miami, and invites entries from all first and second generation Jamaican children residing in Florida.
This event forms part of Jamaica’s Independence celebrations there 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.
Tomlinson Spencer wrote an exciting story on his two favourite places in Jamaica while Antoinette Delancy wrote about her most admirable Jamaican hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and Karisa McKenzie penned her impression of the positive impact Jamaican teachers made in the Diaspora.
The topics while relating to the culture and history of Jamaica also challenged the students to address issues affecting the Jamaican overseas communities. Some of these included community leadership, entertainment, education, history and culture, geography and national development.
The winners were selected from some 20 essays received this year. There are three age categories for applicants between five and 18 years of age. The categories include ages five to eight; nine to 12 and 13 to18. Tomlinson Spencer placed first in the six to eight age category while Antoinette Delancy emerged as winner in the nine to 12 category; and Karisa McKenzie was the winner in the 13-18 age group.
Mr. Spencer attends the Ludlam Elementary School in Miami and expressed his pride and identity as a second generation Jamaican. He has a large extended family that supported his interest in entering the contest.
A seventh grade student at Herbert Ammons Middle School in Miami, Miss Delancy also said she was excited on hearing that she had been successful in the sixth annual essay contest.
Also a second generation Jamaican, Miss Delancy is proud of her heritage and has spent time reading and writing on what she describes as the country’s rich culture and history. She also enjoys spending quality time with her sisters and parents.
In an interview with JIS News, Miss Delancy said she was happy to be recognized for something that she loved doing.
Miss McKenzie is a freshman starting school at Nova High in Fort Lauderdale. She learnt of the competition through her Jamaican teacher, while attending summer classes. The student told JIS News that the essay gave her the opportunity to express her views on the disparities between Jamaican and American schools and how Jamaican students and teachers seemed to be maintaining better standards. A second-generation Jamaican, she still maintains contact with her family here and visits regularly.
The winners will be presented with congratulatory plaques from Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Ricardo Allicock.

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