May 28, 2015
Herbert Morrison Technical and Jonathan Grant High Schools walked away with top honours in a poetry competition organized by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The contest kicked off activities in celebration of World Environment Day, on June 5, and National Environmental Awareness Week (NEAW) which is being observed June 1 to 6.
Participants were charged with interweaving this year's theme - 'Our planet, consume with care' - into their poems which could have been in the format of dub poetry, dialect or Standard English. There was only one catch - performances had to be two minutes or less.
"The performances exceeded our expectations. The submissions were exceptional as they demonstrated artistic prowess along with a deep understanding of environmental issues. We wanted to find a creative way of enlightening youngsters about the environment and the importance of conservation," said Dionne Rose, Manager of the Public Education and Corporate Communication Branch at NEPA.
Nine schools competed in two categories - 12 to 14 age group and the 15-18 age group. There was stiff competition but when the dust settled, a quartet from Jonathan Grant High School emerged winners in the Junior Category while a trio of creative young ladies from Herbert Morrison Technical High School emerged the winner of the Senior Category.
Elated with her win, Christina Samuels of Herbert Morrison Technical High School said it took less than a day for the group to craft the award winning piece. She used the opportunity to share some of the environmentally friendly habits outlined in their poem that she would like to see adopted by more Jamaicans.
"Litter less and recycle more. We need to reuse more items because it saves money, saves the environment and can even be fun!"
Those that missed the stellar performances at the competition are able to view them on NEPA's Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts. Plans are in process to take the winning poems to the radio waves.
"As part of their prize package, NEPA has arranged for audio recordings of the winning pieces. These recordings will be incorporated into public relations campaign that will begin airing on local radio stations, so listen out," said Rose.
Winners received certificates, trophies and gift certificates. The Jamaica National Building Society partnered with the Agency to provide sponsorship and the Urban Development Corporation was also on board.
Celebration of National Environment Awareness Week continues on Sunday May 28 with a Thanksgiving Service at St. Stephen's United Church in Cross Roads, and an Open Day at the NEPA Head Office at 11 Caledonia Avenue on June 5.
Other Winners were:
12-14 Age Group
2nd Anchovy High "Protect the Environment"
3rd Jose Marti "Protect the Planet"
Best Performance Jose Marti "Protect the Planet"
Best Written Piece Jonathan Grant "Earth Cry"
15-18 Age Group
2nd Place Ardenne High "This Land is Ours"
3rd D'Andre Stephenson "3Rs"
Best Performance Herbert Morrison "Our Planet"
Best Written Piece D'Andre Stephenson "3Rs"