Independence Elocution Competition showcases youths’ recitation talents
Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Independence Elocution Competition was one worth waiting for, as several competing primary school students showed off their talents in articulation, pronunciation, enunciation, fluency, projection, pitch and vocal quality Oct. 20 at Calvary Baptist Tabernacle in Sandy Point. The event had been postponed due to Hurricane Maria.
All public primary schools were invited to participate. The competition was divided into three zones: the East Zone, West Zone and Basseterre. Two schools with the best elocution students were selected from each zone to participate in the finals. The schools that participated in the finals included Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary and Saddlers Primary from the East Zone, Sandy Point Primary and Tyrell Williams Primary from the West Zone, and Beach Allen Primary and Deane Glasford Primary from Basseterre.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education William Vincent Hodge said that the event went well. He was particularly impressed with the way students and teachers interpreted the poem “Creative, Industrious Youth” by Sanjay Caines, which they had to recite. The poem can be found on Page 37 of Caines’ book, “Life’s Questions – Come to my homeland.” The poem addresses politicians, as well as creative and industrious youth and those who are at-risk.
Props and costumes, which depicted each aspect of the poem, were allowed during the competition and gave some of the contestants an edge above the rest. Stacey Gumbs of the Ministry of Education, who also helped coordinate the event, said that one student was dressed in a prison uniform depicting at-risk youth and one child wore a suit to depict a politician.
Body language was also a key focus of the competition, as participants were judged on their posture, facial expressions, gestures and movements.
Meleah Erskine of the Beach Allen Primary School won the competition. Second runner-up was Takyla Hart of the Tyrell Williams Primary School and third runner-up was Devonje Stokes of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School.
Hodge said that the children had support from their classmates, who turned out in their numbers. However, he said that more parents should be involved to show their support for the children.
The permanent secretary explained that the Ministry of Education was given the authority to form a sub-committee for schools’ involvement in the independence celebrations, which focused on young people with the theme “Youth, Vision, Integrity: Securing Our Nation’s Prosperity.”