June 05, 2014
Nelissa Thomas of Queen’s College, Britney Gibson of Aquinas College and Jodi Ritchie of Queen’s College were the respective winners in the senior, junior and primary divisions of the Templeton World Charity Foundation and Ministry of Education, Science & Technology’s Laws of Life essay competition.
An awards ceremony was held Tuesday night at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel to honour the winners and competition finalists.
Throughout the night, the Templeton World Charity Foundation, which holds the prestigious competition all over the world, awarded the winners and their schools thousands of dollars in scholarships and cash prizes.
Thomas, Gibson and Ritchie each received $1,000 scholarships and cash prizes ranging from $500 to $800.
Coincidentally, Thomas is the elder sister of Akilah Thomas, a Sadie Curtis Primary School student who was also the 2013 primary division winner.
According to organisers, there were 800 essay entries this year, with 49 New Providence schools and 29 Family Island schools participating. However, that figure is lower than previous years.
Queen’s College had the highest amount of finalists in the junior division. The school also received numerous scholarships to give to deserving students.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Jerome Fitzgerald congratulated the youngsters for their achievements.
“I can tell you truly that the future of The Bahamas is safe and our young people are making us proud in many, many ways,” he said.
“I wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Templeton World Charity Foundation for its generosity in sponsoring this competition. The Foundation has certainly proven that it is a stakeholder of education and is willing to invest in the lives of young people with a view to emphasise the virtues of living a good life. We at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology fully endorse this work and further appreciate all the generosity you have extended to the children and people of The Bahamas and look forward to our continued partnership with you.”
The evening was peppered with commentary from past winners, who relayed how their lives have improved since entering the competition. Parents, teachers and competition judges all sat in the audience.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Hulan Hanna, the evening’s guest speaker, said he was pleased to see an organisation highlighting the good work of the nation’s youth.
“As someone mentioned, when you pick up the newspaper on a daily basis; if you turn on the electronic media, you are almost overwhelmed by the amount of negativity that seems to be happening in our fair land. It is depressing, it is frightening and unfortunately, it’s a reality,” he said.
“But, it is against that context, that backdrop that I am so happy and thrilled to have been invited to speak to you young people. Because what you are celebrating this evening is everything that is good about the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
He added, “It takes a lot to become a finalist. It takes a lot to sit where you are seated. There are many today who worked perhaps just as hard as you did, but they were edged out by you. That ought to say something about your effort and your endeavour as young nation builders. I am extremely proud of you; I am extremely impressed by your effort and your hard work.”
Head of the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Dr. John Templeton Jr., who is the elder son of the late philanthropist, Sir John Templeton encouraged the students to keep working hard.
“It is a joy and blessing to be with you all today. At the same time, if God could only make it possible it is my father Sir John Templeton who would most of all like to be with you all on a night like tonight,” he said.
“I would like to help launch today a celebration for the hundreds of kids who have made this day so special. As you listen, each person here picked a very special question that dad took such treasure in for much of his life: the value of time, the success of perseverance, the pleasure of working, the dignity of simplicity, the work of character, the power of kindness, the influence of example, the obligation of duty . . .”
Meantime, Minister Fitzgerald remembered Sir John Templeton as a pioneer in both financial investment and philanthropy “who spent his lifetime encouraging open-mindedness.”
“He believed that every one of us has a purpose in life beyond our immediate need and gratification. Sometimes, though, that purpose frequently goes undiscovered. Students, you are well on your way to discovering your purpose,” Minister Fitzgerald said.
During the ceremony, Queens College was named the overall winner and received a floating trophy.
Primary Division Finalist
Maverick Armbrister Columbus Primary School, Hugh Bartlett St. Anne’s Primary School, Kyla Bethell Queen’s College, Jelissa Bocage Columbus Primary School, Dominique Bowleg C.W. Sawyer Primary School, Roberca Chery Sandilands Primary School, Tevonni Clarke Thelma Gibson Primary School, Gyllian Cooper Carlton Francis Primary School, Antwoine Cummings Carlton Francis Primary School, Celine Earns Thelma Gibson Primary School, Diontae Gardiner St. Francis & Joseph Primary School, Ebony Hanna St. Anne’s Primary, Ethan Hanna Thelma Gibson Primary School, Takiya Holbert Albury Sayle Primary School, Todd Hylton Thelma Gibson Primary School, Miranda Jack Christian Heritage School Hailey Johnson St. Andrews School, Khari Maycock St. Francis & Joseph Primary School, Aaliyah Moss Columbus Primary School, Dara Nairn St. Andrew’s School, Antonique Palmer Central Abaco Primary School, Jodie Ritchie Queen’s College, Shavantae Roberts Central Abaco Primary School, Dajahrro Roker St. Anne’s Primary School, Erald Thompson St. Anne’s Primary School, Tremaine Williams St. Anne’s Primary School, Drew Wood Thelma Gibson Primary School,
Senior Division Finalist
Alyssa Bastian Queen’s College, Jasmine Bethel Queen’s College, Arlton Cox St. John’s College, Soyini Edwards Queen’s College, O’Chea Finlayson Aquinas College, Nanditha Guruvaiah Queen’s College, Sheean Hanian Bahamas Homeschool Association, Vincent King Queen’s College, Ervin Miller Queen’s College, Jada Miller Queen’s College, Camille Minnis St. John’s College, Sandron Morley Queen’s College, Donel Morrison Aquinas College, Shamia Pintard St. John’s College, Ashli Pratt Queen’s College, Makayle Roberts St. John’s College, Shabethany Sawyer St. Augustine’s College, Joel Sweeting Queen’s College, Nelissa Thomas Queen’s College, Ashley Thompson St. John’s College, Janell Watkins St. John’s College, Devaughn Williamson Aquinas College, Junior Division Abigail Allen St. Augustine’s College, Gabriella Armbrister Eight Mile Rock High School, Simone Bellot St. John’s College, T’nique Brown Queen’s College, Kyle Collie Queen’s College, Britney Gibson Aquinas College, Charles Hamilton St. Anne’s High School , Savion Marshall Queen’s College, Michael Miller Queen’s College, Mahlia Neely Queen’s College, Allie Pinder Spanish Wells All-Age School, Derek Pinder Spanish Wells All-Age School, Mya Pratt Queen’s College, Mecheal Russell St. Augustine’s College, Alissan Seymour Aquinas College, Alexandria Thompson Queen’s College, Kenmar Theophilus Queen’s College, Ezekiel Thompson Bahamas Homeschool Association, Jayda Ritchie Queen’s College, Waynesha Thompson Eight Mile Rock High School.