Six secondary schools from across Barbados participated in the U.S. Embassy’s Black History Month Secondary School Speech Competition. Students delivered outstanding speeches on a variety of topics related to issues surrounding race, African American film and sport from the Liberal Arts Auditorium at the Barbados Community College. Fourth-form student from the Christ Church Foundation School, Gabrielle Anderson took the top prize for her school with her speech discussing whether African American athletes have a social responsibility to contribute specifically to the black community. Second place went to the Lodge School’s fourth-former Jaheim Thomas, while Combermere School, represented by third-former Crystal Headley, placed third.
A panel compromising U.S. Embassy officials and lecturers from the Barbados Community College judged the competitors, who also included students from Springer Memorial Girls’ Secondary School, The St. Michael School and Queen’s College. The students all used the forum as a platform to share their perspectives and solutions on contemporary socio-political issues. In her opening remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela wished the participants luck and encouraged them to view the event as not just a competition but a platform to amplify their words to inspire, persuade and change hearts and minds.
Winning school, Christ Church Foundation received the top prize of an HP all-in-one computer. The top three students and supervising teachers received an impressive prize package including a trophy, electronic tablets, Amazon Echoes, selected books on public speaking and great speeches in American and World History. The contest supported the U.S. Embassy’s goal of promoting education as a driver of sustainable economic growth, and as a means to foster innovation and empower youth.