An exciting day for Gros Islet’s budding authors and their sponsors and supporters. It was Grow Well’s award presentation for the Young Author’s short story competition involving nine (9) primary and secondary schools in the Gros Islet District.
With a crowd of nearly 200 people at the Gros Islet Secondary School in Beausejour, the young students who participated in the Young Author’s competition were wonderfully celebrated. The audience included Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, parliamentary representative for Gros Islet Hon. Emma Hippolyte, and Nobel Laureate, Sir Derek Walcott, as well as other major sponsors, principals and teachers.
A total of eighteen prizes were awarded and the top three winners in each category were: Britney Mangal, Gros Islet Primary School, Jaden Philip, Gros Islet Primary Schoool and Devyne Cadette, Bonne Terre Prep High School.
Although slightly nervous when reading their winning short stories to the large audience, the children were awe inspired by the positive attention and feedback from such a distinguished audience. “I couldn’t speak. I was frozen. I couldn’t believe it. So I decided I wouldn’t look in the Governor General’s direction,” reported one primary school student to Gros Islet principal Paula St.Luce. Mrs. St. Luce’s school garnered 11 prizes out of the total of 18. She accepted Grow Well’s Honors Award for the most entries (62) from any school in the district. And that prize was $1,500.
Principal St. Luce was asked by the Grow Well’s emcee for the event, Rotary Club President Judy Deterville, how she intended to spend “all that money”, and she responded immediately that she would better equip the school’s kitchen to serve healthy, nutritious lunch meals that her children would find appetizing. “Gros Islet Primary School loves Grow Well”, she ended to loud applause.
A highlight of the evening was the singing tribute by Grow Well girls and boys to the evening’s honoree Dame Pearlette Louisy, a catchy new song with lyrics by Colleen Newman, melody by Gene Lawrence and directed by Angie Montoute.
“We wanted to thank Her Excellency for her love of country and devotion to education,” said Grow Well President Paul Lorde. “Dame Pearlette is the ideal embodiment for Grow Well’s theme for its 20th year of service to youth in the Gros Islet community— 20 years of volunteerism, caring and sharing. The governor general inspires us,” Lorde added.
Winning children were also inspired by the prizes they earned: 9 Kindle Fire HD tablets, complete with a generous voucher to buy e-books online; real books by local authors, vouchers to buy school supplies, and entertainment vouchers for Rainforest tram rides, Zip Lines, Segway tours and other attractions. Grow Well singers also won food store vouchers which would make any parent happy.
Grow Well thanks its many sponsors for this event including its founding and continuing sponsor the Rotary Club of Gros Islet; Domino’s Pizza; Gems Multigraphics; Harry Edwards Jewelers; IGY Rodney Bay Marina; Jeremiah Jonas of Hotep Enterprises; Amy Berglund; Claire Nardoni; Colleen and Alan Newman; Craig and Sue Berrington; Frank and Heather Heaps; John and Dragana Kennedy.
Grow Well’s Young Authors and Children’s Choir found enormous pleasure in receiving numerous books delivered by local authors including Cornell Charles, June Frederick, Therold Prudent and many more from the Cultural Development Foundation and the Folk Research Centre. FRC director Robert Lee said authors were enthused about Grow Well’s project and only too happy to encourage young writers. He organized books from Dawn French; Rudy Gurley; Rose Hippolyte; Kendel Hippolyte; Jane King; Robert Lee; Lambert St. John and Travis Weekes among others.
Many attending said they hope to see this exciting educational and cultural Grow Well project spread from community to community throughout the island. Some children were not so sure… not sure about sharing the spotlight. But on reflection they agreed the Governor General would want more and more Grow Wells throughout the country. Yes, helping to educate and promote youth through interesting after-school activities is a good idea!
The Winners List
1. Britney Mangal, Gros Islet Primary School
2. Kelsey Henry Gros Islet Primary School
3. Nathan Etienne Gros Islet Primary School
1. Jaden Philip, Gros Islet Primary Schoool
2. Hanzel Butcher Gros Islet Primary School
3. Aimee Verneuil Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School
14 – 18
1. Devyne Cadette, Bonne Terre Prep High School
2. Kishma Willie, Corinth Secondary School
3. Princess Wilson, Corinth Secondary School
Richella Rufus, Gros Islet Primary School
Eddica Chiquot Gros Islet Primary School
Norissa Benjamin, Gros Islet Primary School
10 – 13
Jowen Smith, Babboneau Secondary School
Obediah Phillip, Gros Islet Primary School
Anya Lennie, Gros Islet Primary School
Abigail Mitchel, Gros Islet Primary School
Veacha Devaux, The International School
14 – 18
Chancy Fontenelle, The International School