A student of Forest Heights Academy (FHA), Jonnajah Boodle, placed first in the senior category of the Rotary Club of Abaco’s Speech Competition. Her victory allowed the Trophy to return to FHA from the previous year’s winners – SC Bootle High School. FHA held the trophy two years ago.
Davantee Tate from Moore’s Island All-Age School placed first in the Junior Division. Central Abaco Primary School’s Tanae Roberts won the Primary Division category.
For over twenty years the annual Rotary Club of Abaco’s Speech Competition, created by Rotarian Hugh Cottis in 1989, had given the students of Abaco the opportunity to learn how to express their opinion in public and to sharpen their oral skills.
This year, twenty four students from private and public schools, from as far north as Cooper’s Town and as far south as Moore’s Island, gathered at St Andrew’s Methodist Church on February 13 to participate in the event.
The competition was preceded by remarks by the District of Education Superintendent, Dr. Lenora Black, who said she was proud to work among students who had made a commitment to excellence and that she expected a competitive round in each Division. She acknowledged Rotary’s contribution to education, affirming that the Club shared in the overall mission of the Department. She wished the best to all the students and urged them to continue to inspire their friends and their classmates.
Nine children entered the Primary School Division, telling the judges and the audience why “Manners make a Man.” Some kids were more articulate than others in their presentations, but they all agreed that good manners help you get further in life; being polite, considerate and respectful were prerequisite for good behavior and success in life.
“How can my generation contribute to the world we inherit” was the topic for the Junior Division. Addressing crime and protecting the environment were issues commonly found in the students’ speeches. They all thought that their generation could improve the state of affairs in The Bahamas and leave a better world for generations to come.
The Seniors had to explain how to achieve “Peace through service, on a local, national and international level.” Some thought that conflicts were created by public issues such as racism, drug abuse, unequal treatment, poverty and government leaders’ faults. They would like to see a Bahamas without poverty or social issues.
They mentioned famous peace promoters who changed the society they lived in through their service to a cause, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou. They also cited international organizations such as Rotary and Red Cross, which by their commitment to service helped promote international peace.
“Violence breeds violence” quoted one of the contestants, but there are ways to resolve conflicts besides violence. World leaders should try to resolve issues in a diplomatic way.
“Those at war are not at peace with themselves” was en ending quote by one of the participants.
Head Judge, Rotarian Gentry Morris, congratulated the contestants, saying that the numbers were very close and that no one should feel that they lost. He gave a few words of advice having to do with deportment, gesticulation eye contact and voice tone. He also urged them to engage the audience.
The final results were as follows:
Primary Division: first, Tanae Roberts – CAPS; in second place, Dikembe Wilkinson – St Francis de Sales Catholic School; in third place Delon Hunt – Moore’s Island All-Age School.
Junior Division: first Davante Tate – Moore’s Island All-Age School; second Priscilla Bain – Forest Heights Academy; third, Jaarona Stuart – S C Bootle High School.
Senior Division: first, Jannajah Boodle – Forest Heights Academy; second Joshua Robins – St Francis de Sales Catholic School; third, Kirkland McIntosh – Abaco Central High School.
After the trophies’ presentation, a light lunch was served.