Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Students seek to dethrone William Knibb in annual Essay Competition

Published:Monday | April 10, 2017 | 4:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Rosemary Duncan (left), Rita Marley Foundation manager, and Nastacia Linton, first-place winner of last year’s essay competition.

The rivalry at this year's staging of the annual Rita Marley Foundation Essay Speaking Competition promises to be very intense as participating schools seek to break the winning streak set by William Knibb Memorial High over the last few years.

Now in its fourth year, the competition has already seen two winners emerge from William Knibb, with the only other winner coming from Papine High at the inaugural staging back in 2013.

Rosemary Duncan, manager at the Rita Marley Foundation (JA), told The Gleaner that each year the competition gets stronger as the participants grow and further develop their essay-writing skills. The latter, coupled with the thirst to nab the title, she expressed, has fuelled the desire among students from other schools in this year's competition to dethrone William Knibb.

"We have had up to 10 schools from across the island competing in the annual competition and each year the participants become more advanced, more equipped, and more ready to go into battle with the other participants," she said. "William Knibb has won two of three titles so far, and so the other schools in the competition are determined to break that streak and, as you can imagine, William Knibb is ready to make it three in a row, so it should make for a very good competition this year."

Duncan also expressed that over the years, the competition has experienced tremendous growth with the number of participating schools. Last year, there were 10 participating schools from across the island and this year, she is expecting to surpass that number.


"We are more than happy with how much the competition has grown over the years. The foundation remains dedicated to increasing literacy among students in Jamaica and will continue to push for that through the public speaking and essay competitions."

This year, students from several high schools across the island will write essays based on the following lyrics from Dr Rita Marley's song, Love Iyah: 'They will try to buy your souls with money, bribing with milk and honey, distorting the youths in their minds, doping the wool they pull over their eyes. Jah call on the youth cause they're strong, don't give your strength in vain now'.

Students will be asked to expound on the ideas presented in the song's lyrics. Each essay is expected to be 1,000 words. The final drafts should be submitted to the Foundation by June 1.

The top three winners will be revealed on Saturday, June 30, the eve of International Reggae Day. The first-place writer will receive cash and the winning essay will be published in the Harambe newsletter.