William Knibb Memorial High School Reigns Supreme in Rita Marley Foundation (JA) Essay Competition

This year’s essay competition saw entries from Wolmer’s Boys’ School, Marcus Garvey Technical High, York Castle High, Haile Selassie High and William Knibb Memorial High School. The theme, “If you are selected to address world leaders on behalf of the youth, what would be your message & why?” The event now in its second year, was launched in April with participating schools issuing the topic, rules and guidelines to students. Each school appointed a committee comprising teachers to select their top three submissions. Those essays were sent to the Rita Marley Foundation (JA) for assessment by a prime panel of judges comprising Mrs. Rita Marley (Chief Judge, President/Founder); Dr. Donna Hope(Director Institute of Caribbean Studies & Reggae Studies Unit UWI, Mona); Ms. Beverley Lashley (Deputy Campus Librarian UWI Mona Main Library); Vernon Derby (Broadcaster). The judges selected the top four winners whose names were revealed during a mega awards ceremony held at the University of the West Indies, Mona. A massive audience attended the event, chaired by Mrs. Amina Blackwood Meeks (Director of Culture in Education programme, Ministry of Education). Attendees included members of the diplomatic corps, educators, ethiopian orthodox church clergy, media reps and students.

Mrs. Rita Marley commended all students who participated in the competition. She further implored them to “be serious about education because it is the key to success and liberation.” Rosemary Duncan manager of the Rita Marley Foundation (JA) told the audience “Rita Marley Foundation is committed to working with the youth to make them strong; by elevating, educating and empowering them. Writing is empowering.”

Nastassia Grossett, the student representative for William Knibb Memorial High School (Trelawny) emerged 1st place winner. York Castle High School students Antonio Hall and Shakera Duncan placed 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Aldane Walters of Wolmer’s Boys’ School was 4th. The individual winners and their schools were awarded trophies, medals and certificates among other prizes. Ms. Stephanie Marley a director at the Rita Marley Foundation, made the presentations. The winning essay will be published in the next issue of Harambe,the Rita Marley Foundation newsletter.

During the jubilant function Bongo Herman, Isha Bell and Papine High School Choir serenaded Mrs. Rita Marley with songs Harambe, There Will Always Be Music & A Jah Jah. Attendees also celebrated news of Mrs. Marley being conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree in October by the University of the West Indies, Mona for her outstanding contributions to Jamaica’s music & culture.

The essay awards ceremony was broadcast live on Nationwide News Network, a co-sponsor of the event.