U.S. Embassy Presents Prizes to Winners of NASA Essay Contest

Students at three under-served Barbados secondary schools have been awarded prizes for their winning essays in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The contest was held in conjunction with last month’s public lecture on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by retired NASA astronaut Robert Curbeam.

Writing on the topic, “What if there were no NASA,” fifth-form student Saskia Singh of the Daryll Jordan Secondary School in St. Lucy emerged the first-place winner of the competition. At an awards ceremony held at the school on October 29, U.S. Ambassador Larry Palmer presented a variety of prizes, including an iPad Air and a pair of Beats by Dre headphones to Saskia; and a 13-piece collection of STEM-themed books, a NASA collectible pin set, and an HP notebook computer to the school. Every student in Saskia’s class also received EducationUSA bags, pens, pencils, and t-shirts, and all faculty members were also given bags with Embassy-branded materials.

Commenting at the awards ceremony, Ambassador Palmer highlighted the importance of STEM education as a driver of economic growth and innovation — topics also covered by astronaut Curbeam during his public lecture titled “STEM: The Final Frontier,” which was held on October 16.

The second-prize winner in the contest was fifth-form student Nicholas Headley of Ellerslie Secondary School. Third place went to Xavier Best, Tyrique Browne, Moesha Edwards, Zaire Goodman, Makkonan Williams, and Dashawn Wilson of the Alma Parris Secondary School.  Both schools also received a variety of prizes, including a 13-piece collection of STEM-themed books, an HP notebook computer, and a poster detailing the solar system.

Headley also received an iPad Air and a pair of Beats by Dre headphones, while the six students of Alma Parris received individual gift bags with Embassy-branded materials. Students in the winning classes at both schools also received EducationUSA bags, pens, and pencils, and faculty members received bags with Embassy-branded materials.

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown’s Public Affairs Officer Yolonda Kerney said, “We hosted this essay competition as a means of engaging with a wider cross-section of secondary students, in keeping with the Obama administration’s pledge to prioritize STEM education. The competition also made academic heroes out of one outstanding student at each school, thus inspiring other students. We remain committed to promoting STEM education, and promoting the United States as the leader in STEM education, and space exploration.”