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Twenty-four students were awarded prizes in this year’s staging of the National Child Month Committee’s (NCMC) poster and poetry competitions.

The recipients, aged six to 18 years, were presented with their prizes during the recent awards ceremony held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, which culminated the NCMC’s activities commemorating May as Child Month.

A total of 80 poems and 41 posters, depicting the theme for Child Month 2013: ‘Children’s Care and Protection. A Fi Wi Mission’, were received by the NCMC, from which the winners were selected.

The poetry competition, which was undertaken for the first time this year, replaced the essay competition, which was staged up to last year.

Amanda Taylor of St. Hugh’s Preparatory School; Carissa Palmer of Stella Maris Preparatory School; and Brandy Hutchinson of Holy Trinity Basic School, all in Kingston, copped first, second, and third place respectively in the six to seven year old category of the poetry competition.

In the eight to 10 year old category, Nicholas Foster of Hague Primary and Infant School in Trelwany, placed first; Zoe Isaacs of the Stella Maris Preparatory School – second; and Chanlie Brown of Duhaney Park Primary School in St. Andrew – third. Chadwick Foster of Hague Primary and Infant School; Hosigh Clarke of Corinaldi Avenue Primary School in St. James; and Stanecia Wynter of Glenmuir High School in Clarendon, emerged first, second, and third prize winners respectively in the 11 to 14 year old category.

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The top award in the 15 to 18 year old category went to Yanique Chin of Glenmuir High School, while the prizes for second and third place went to Domonique Barnett and Ashley Chambers, respectively, of Immaculate Conception High School in St. Andrew.

In the poster competition, Dominick Taffe of Harrison’s Preparatory School, St. Catherine placed first in the six to seven year-old category, while Shaneil Miles, and Samantha Salmon, of Stella Maris Preparatory School, emerged second and third respectively.

Paula-Kay Davis of Corinaldi Avenue Primary School was adjudged the winner of the eight to 10 year old category, with Racqueish Robinson, and Jada Dixon, of Stella Maris Preparatory School, copping the second and third place awards respectively. The top three awards for the 11 to 14 year old category went to Mishawn Chin-See of Wolmer’s Girls’ School; David Salmon of Wolmer’s Boys’ School; and Makayla Lindsay of St. Hugh’s Primary School, in Kingston.

Kedisha Myers of St. Elizabeth Technical High School, St. Elizabeth; and Sheneé Ellis of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Pre-School, placed first and second respectively, while Tashara Wilmot of Mt. Zion Methodist Church Girls’ Brigade, and Kriscilla Wilmot of Marymount High School, St. Mary, tied for third place in the 15 to18 year-old category.

The winners received trophies, medals, cash prizes, book vouchers, heritage tours, scholarships in the visual and performing arts and summer workshops, gift baskets, and meal vouchers.

Both competitions were aimed at increasing the youngsters’ awareness of the role of the family and society, challenges impacting both sets of stakeholders, and providing them (children) with channels through which to express the positive changes which they feel can and should be undertaken.

Chairperson of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, in her address at the award ceremony, noted that the competitions were also designed to emphasize to the children that their inputs are highly valued, while celebrating their achievements.

“The objectives of these competitions are to encourage a wide cross-section of Jamaica’s children to participate in activities that will highlight them and their efforts; encourage the development of their written and artistic skills; engage them to creatively analyze their issues, concerns, suggestions; and relate those issue to us, as adults,” she said.

Executive Director of one of the competitions’ sponsors, Grace Kennedy Foundation, Caroline Mahfood, who brought remarks on behalf of Patron of Child Month, Hon. Douglas Orane, said it was heartening to see the depictions of care and protection, among other sentiments, represented in the children’s work.

“You (children) demonstrated that you fully understand the society in which you live. It is clear that Jamaica’s artistic sector will grow in strength as you all continue to develop your amazing gifts,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer of another sponsor, National Continental Baking Company,Gary Hendrickson,lauded the students’ efforts.

“If we the adults of this country just listen to you the children (and) read and follow and act on what is said and played out in your posters and poems, we would have a wonderful Jamaica today,” he said.

Other sponsors included: LIME, Dolphin Cove, Carlong Publishers, Ian Randle Publishers, Edna Manley College for the Visual Performing Arts, Sanaa Studios, Sangster’s Book Stores Limited, Mystic Mountain, Novelty Trading Company Limited, and Chukka Caribbean Adventures

CONTACT: JUDITH A. HUNTER