PHILIPSBURG–The winners of the first Intangible Heritage Interscholastic Essay Competition, hosted by the Department of Culture, received their awards from Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs at the Government Administration Building on Friday, July 15.
The purpose of this initiative was to stimulate the young minds, inspire intellectual and creative thought and acknowledge the impact of African heritage on St. Maarten and the entire world under the theme “The United Nations (UN) has declared 2015-2024 the International Decade of People of African Descent – In keeping with the UN themes of Recognition, Justice and Development, describe the global impact of people of African descent from your perspective.”
St. Dominic High, St. Maarten Academy and Learning Unlimited participated. The top three finalists, hailing from St. Maarten Academy, were winner Naomi Jankee, first runner-up Jacinth Hunkins and second runner-up Tiffany Sang. The winning essays were judged based on the criteria of originality, understanding, structure, presentation, relevance to topic, literary style, “wow factor” and impact.
The full exercise of human rights by people of African descent depends significantly on their access to education, which is fundamental to human development. A combination of greater access to education, completion of each phase of education and higher-quality teaching is not only necessary to guarantee basic social rights, but also has a positive effect on economic growth and equity.
These aspects are important for St. Maarten youth to understand, especially students who are preparing to or are currently studying abroad, who may be faced with social issues dissimilar to issues on the island.
Minister Jacobs commended St. Maarten Academy and its English Department not only for encouraging students to participate in the essay competition, but for providing support and feedback to the students as well.
Jacobs also challenged the students during the ceremony to do more research on contributions of people of African descent in the pre-enslaved period and to share their writings and findings with their peers, as their history did not commence with slavery, but has existed since the beginning of time. She said the essays would be made public for all to read/hear and learn from.
Source: Daily Herald
Minister Jacobs awards winners of Heritage Essay Competition