Public Speaking Competition Winners Meet Prime Minister, Opposition Leader
The reigning champion and past winner of the Rita Marley Foundation's annual public-speaking competition, had one of their dreams fulfilled when they got the chance to meet Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, on Wednesday.
Bobby Francis of York Castle High School (reigning champion) and Xaundre Mohansingh of Glenmuir High School (last year's winner), both have big dreams of one day serving in the country's most powerful office. They were overwhelmed that they were able to not only meet with Holness and Simpson-Miller, but were happy they got the opportunity to converse with them.
In addressing the winners, Simpson-Miller expressed the importance of education and encouraged both to work hard to achieve their dreams.
"One may become the next prime minister. Never allow anyone to beat down your spirit to triumph. Always make sure you get to that victory line," she said, adding that if the boys should attain the office in the future, they should remember that they are there to serve the people.
"When you become prime minister it's the people first. People love when you are honest and kind. When you treat them well, you will always be elected," she added.
The leader of the Opposition also expressed her admiration for both students and encouraged them to make their country proud.
During their courtesy call to the Office of the Prime Minister later that evening, Francis and Mohansingh got the chance to quiz the PM on matters affecting the country, including high unemployment and plans for educating the youth population.
The confidence the young men portrayed during their session made the PM proud and he expressed as much to them, saying it was good to see young men excelling.
"I feel empowerment," he said. "Once you discover your passion, go with your passion. If you lose passion, don't occupy the position or the people will suffer. Whatever you do, pursue it with passion."
Holness also implored the youth to take education seriously, as their knowledge and skills will benefit the entire nation.
He went on to thank the Rita Marley Foundation (JA), the students, teachers and principals from the participating schools for their contribution to Jamaica.
The students also received a tour of the Bob Marley Museum where they were of the cultural contributions of the late reggae icon, Robert Nesta Marley, on the day that marked 35 years since his passing.
The day's activities were organised by the Rita Marley Foundation, which seeks to empower and develop articulate, eloquent youth through education.
- Shereita Grizzle