June 9, 2014
Savanna-La-Mar Primary School has emerged the winner of the World Environment Day Debating Competition which was coordinated by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The competition, which was held on Thursday, June 5 at the JN Source Centre in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland was opened to all primary schools in the area. Five schools competed. The schools were Broughton, Townhead, Savanna-la-Mar, Unity and Green Island. The students argued the moot 'Be it resolved that safeguarding Negril's coastline against the impact of Climate Change is the sole responsibility of the State.'
In the end, Savanna-la-mar Primary copped top honours while Green Island Primary placed second. Unity Primary rounded out the top three. Green Island's first speaker, Shanika Howard also walked away with the trophy for best speaker.
Coach of the winning team and teacher at the school, Tanique Lewis-Myrie said she was overjoyed at her students' performance in the competition. According to Mrs. Lewis Myrie her students are now more environmentally aware and in a better position to play their part in safeguarding the environment.
"The students now have a better understanding of terms like global warming and beach erosion. They are also more aware of what they should and should not do to help Jamaica to adapt to Climate Change and from all indications they are both willing and ready to play their part," she said.
Shanika Howard was elated that she was named the best speaker of the competition. "I feel overjoyed and overwhelmed. I didn't expect it. Then when I heard my name, I cried tears of joy," she said with a broad smile.
Devon Callam, teacher of Mannings High School and chief judge of the World Environment Day Debating Competition said he was impressed with the arguments presented by the participating teams and when it came time to select the winner, only a few points separated each of the top three schools.
"It was evident from their speeches that a lot of time and research went into preparing for the competition. It was a very enlightening and educational activity for all involved - the debaters, their teachers and especially those watching the debate," he said.
Dionne Rose, Manager of NEPA's Public Education and Corporate Communication Branch said she was pleased with the overall event.
"Young people comprise a critical component of our audience when it comes to environmental education activities. We are heartened by how passionate these students people are about the environment and by the high level of support that this debate competition received from both teachers and students," said Rose.
The top three schools received trophies courtesy of Jamaica National Building Society and school supplies from Sandals Resort Beaches. The World Environment Day Debate Competition formed part of activities to celebrate National Environmental Awareness Week which was observed June 1-7.