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Teach them!

This year’s recipients, from left: Mark Ramsay, Racquel Griffith, Nicholas Roach-Holder.

The quality of pieces entered for this year’s Irving Burgie Award were very impressive.

So much so that for the first time there was a tie for first place in the senior category, with Racquel Griffith of the Barbados Community College and Mark Ramsay of Harrison College receiving the top honours.

The junior winner was, for the second consecutive year, Christ Church Foundation’s Nicholas Roach-Holder.

There was, nevertheless, still a major concern for the judges. Speaking at the presentation ceremony for the awardees this morning at the National Cultural Foundation in West Terrace, St. James one of the three judges, Nailah Imoja, said there was a need for teachers to encourage their students to enter the competition.

The entry date this year was opened in the first week of February and closed on June 29. A reminder was broadcast in May, however, there were only seven entrants in the competition.

“The competition will not become as significant as it ought to be unless there are more entries, unless the teachers are playing their part… We know that good writing is taking place in our schools, I am a teacher myself and someone who visit schools quite often particularly to deal with creative writing programmes — we know that there is good work being produced in the schools and we wonder why it is not filtering to this competition, although we know that NIFCA enjoys a healthy turn out of entries.

“This is something that is of concern to us and I’m hoping that we … can make the point to those teachers out there to take note of this competition. It is an annual event, so please come out and support what Mr. Burgie is doing by fostering the creativity, literary arts in particular.

“I would really like to urge publicly head teachers and teachers to recognise the importance of this competition and to †play an even greater role in ensuring that the writing that is produced in the schools makes its way to this competition as well as to our a national competition, NIFCA,” she said.

From 2011 the format of the competition changed from entrants being nominated to contestants presenting a portfolio of literary pieces for judgement. (KC)

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