Students with a gift for prose last week received awards and accolades from the Royal Commonwealth Society and from Governor Stuart Jack, during the 2008 international essay competition awards ceremony.
With improvements in both the numbers and quality of the local essays, the Cayman Islands accounted for entries from 42 children, representing 16 schools. Of those, seven were ‘highly commended’ and seven more were awarded under the RCS Commendation Scheme. Numerous additional entries were commended through Cayman’s Department of Education Services Commendation Scheme.
Mr. Jack hosted a reception at Government House attended by the students, educators and parents. Presenting the awards, he said ‘It is remarkable that a small group can produce such good work. I read some of the essays and was struck by the enormous variety of ideas and styles, presented in words which the rest of us could admire and relate to.’
He further encouraged local youths to improve their skills in English, and thanked the parents and educators for their roles in the students’ success. Noting that ‘there are many issues impacting our youth, from socialization to self-esteem,’ Mr Jack added ‘My heart is with you and I encourage this programme.’
Honourary Representative, Cayman Islands Branch of the society, Justice Charles Quin also expressed pleasure at the standards. ‘We clearly have some very good writers who have worked hard and have considerable talent,’ he said.’ He also thanked Butterfield Bank, which again sponsored the young writers cash prizes.
The students had a range of topics from which to choose, and they wrote on issues ranging from hurricane experiences to the local youth culture. The 2008 awards were slated to be presented last November, but that was postponed because of Hurricane Paloma, and the inability of Brac students to travel.
The Royal Commonwealth Society’s Essay Competition was established in 1883 following the society’s formation in 1868. It is a global educational project which aims to enable young people of different backgrounds to compete on equal terms with their peers around the world.
It encourages young people to aspire to high standards of academic scholarship and creative writing. The competition involves over 50,000 students from 53 Commonwealth countries and jurisdictions. The RCS competition also seeks to inspire young writers while encouraging literacy, creativity and reflective thought.