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Destiny Adderley of Cooper’s Town Primary School, second place; Angels Academy Student – Maddox Pinder, the winner; and Ashley Smith of Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS), third place, spoke on the topic of "I Know Who I Am" for the Ministry of Education’s Religious Studies Speech Competition on Nov. 15.

Religious Studies Competition Focuses on Self-Awareness in God

The Ministry of Education’s Religious Studies Speech Competition took place at Court #2 on Nov. 15. Education Officer Sandy Edwards was the moderator, and she gave the contestants and the audience guidelines pertaining to the competition.

The topic was: “I Know Who I Am.”

The first speech was given by Aysha Parker of Fox Town Primary School. Aysha began her speech with lyrics from Sinach’s “I Know Who I Am” song. She talked about her appearance, and how God never makes mistakes.

“God does all things well,” she affirmed. “Everything was created by God.”

She quoted Deut. 7:6 noting that she is a Daughter of the King. Singing lines of “I Know Who I Am” throughout her speech, she also cited Ephesians 2:10 and Philippians 4:13. Deuteronomy 31:6 and 1 John 4:4 followed suit. Aysha soon ended with an anecdote about a classmate who came to school without lunch giving her an opportunity to share her lunch.

The second contestant was Antoine Russell of Crossing Rocks Primary School. He recalled going through life barefoot and without food some days. Quoting, Phil. 4:19 was the Scripture that kept him as it reminded him that God will supply all of our needs.

In Job 33:4, Antoine said it was God’s spirit that made him, and that he is special and unique. Before becoming head boy, he said he was a mischievous boy who is now a role model to his peers.

Despite being called dumb or stupid by others, he was pleased to say that he has chosen the right path.

“God listens to my prayers, and He helps me,” he shared.

Tall, dark, handsome and intelligent, Antoine was assured that he is made in the image of God.

Over to Omari Mills, a student of St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, he quoted Jer. 1:5, which says that God knew him before he was formed in his mother’s womb.

“I’m an enthusiastic, straight A, honour roll student,” he exclaimed.

He said there is a lot going on the world to confuse us, and despite the number of friends we may have online, they are not always our true friends.

“God is our true friend, and He promised never to leave us,” Omari declared. “We were not created by evolution or any other thing.”

After quoting Gen. 1:27, he said many television advertisements use beauty products to convince us that we’re beautiful, but these products are used to conceal and mask our true identities.

More Scriptures were quoted from Psalm, 1 Timothy and Proverbs by him.

“I am strong; I am brave; I am an overcomer; I am Omari Mills,” he concluded.

Angels Academy Student – Maddox Pinder – informed everyone that he comes from a big family that goes to church regularly.

“My self-identity and spirituality are all rooted in God and the Bible – He’s the ultimate Creator of all things,” Maddox acknowledged. He then quoted John 3:16-17.

As he reflected on his life, Maddox shared that he is good in swimming and football. He was given the opportunity to compete in the Goodwill Games in Guyana. While there, Maddox secured two gold medals and a silver medal in swimming. Presently, his sights are set on representing The Bahamas at the CARIFTA Games.

Maddox said that even while participating in sports he knows that God is with him, so he shows love and kindness to others no matter what the result.  His hobbies are fishing where he enjoys the thrill of the catch and he is mindful of being responsible and respectful of what God provides. So among Maddox’s faith, talents and hobbies, he sees his life as an example of God’s love as he ended with Matthew 5:14-15.

Agape Christian School Student Eugene Dawkins said he went to the Creator to ask who he is, and he found the answer in the blueprint and manual that God gave us – the Bible. His first stop on his journey of self-discovery was in Genesis where Joseph was in the palace.

As Joseph was, Eugene said he is a forgiving person and although things may not go the way he likes all the time, he is on the way to the Promised Land. Over to Exodus, he spoke with Moses, who like him, had difficulty with his speech and was afraid of people laughing at him.

“Look at me in a speech competition; I am an overcomer,” he observed.

He crossed over to Jeremiah, who thought he wasn’t qualified until God told him to do what he instructed him to do because He would be with him.

“I am Eugene Bentley Dawkins. I am destined to overcome great things in life; I am the answer to the problems in the earth; I am a game changer and a trailblazer, but most importantly, I am here!”

Ashley Smith of Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS) was up next.

“People think I am intelligent, and they’re right,” she expressed. “But I am also courteous, brave, beautiful and artistic.

In Psalm 139:14, she said there is so much beauty that God has made in this world.

“I am artistic like the Great Artist,” she indicated.

Ashley added that everyone is also talented in their own way. For example, she is a writer, and she likes to encourage her friends.

“I try to make my friends happy, and I encourage them to do well,” she said. “I learned to encourage from the Great Encourager.”

She clarified that because she is brave that doesn’t mean she is fearless. She told the story of being afraid to go on a ride at a theme park, but overcoming her fear, she decided to go on the 185-foot slide.

The first time around, Ashley felt like she was “plummeting to her death,” but she ended up going on the slide two more times because she actually discovered she enjoyed it. So Ashley learned to be brave because Isa. 43:2 tells her that God promises to be with her.

The final contestant was Destiny Adderley of Cooper’s Town Primary School. After informing the audience that she is a complete package of “downhome goodness0”, she incorporated an acoustic using the letters of her name to lay the foundation of her speech.

It began with the “daintiful” letter D, which she explained meant that she is destination-driven, and she takes advantage of every opportunity she is given. E was for her earnest, sincere personality. S represented spectacular, while T was for her tenacious and talented attributes. She quoted verses from 1 John 4:4, Phil. 4:13 and Matt. 19:26.

Talented seems like an understatement considering Destiny is involved in track and field as a sprinter, she sings, plays the piano and clarinet, and is an inspirational dancer. She has participated in the National Children’s Choir, and was first runner-up in Joy FM’s Jingle Competition.

On to I for intelligence, Destiny is an honour roll student – a status which she has consistently maintained. N was for nocturnal as she described herself as a night owl. Finally, the Y stood for yearning as she arises every day to pray to God with her family.

To sum it all up, Destiny said that like the meaning of her name, she is filled with purpose.

Assistant District Superintendent Dominique Russell commended the students for their outstanding speeches noting that her prayer would be that they are continually reminded of who they are, and that God’s will would be done in their lives.

The results were soon in after the judges’ deliberations were complete. Maddox Pinder of Angels Academy placed first, and Destiny Adderley of Cooper’s Town Primary School came second. Ashley Smith of Central Abaco Primary School was awarded third place.

After the competition, Maddox appeared stunned and overcome with emotion as he explained that it was his first competition, and he was still shocked to know he had won. Nonetheless, he was excited about going to New Providence to represent Abaco in the Religious Studies Speech Competition there on Nov. 24. Maddox proceeded to place second out of thirteen competitors in that competition.

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About Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander

Canishka Alexander was born in New Providence, but spent most of her childhood years on Abaco. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Abilene Christian University.

Although she has accomplished many things in life, her greatest accomplishment is being a mother to her four children. She loves God, her country and people of all cultures.

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