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Keeping letter writing alive

Women entrepreneurs show off their goods on Chamberlain Bridge

The Barbados Postal Service is trying to keep the art of letter writing alive –– at least among the island’s youth.

In a recent national letter writing competition where children were encouraged to address the topic Why Water Is Precious in a letter format, 21 schools participated with Harrison College’s Faith Corbin emerging as the top writer among the scores of entries.

Postmaster General Joel Brathwaite told the students that competitions like this helped them improve their skills, while keeping the old form of letter writing alive.

We continue to organize this activity because we believe it has worth . . . . It contributes to the child’s or the student’s personal development. You learn to conduct research . . . , express yourselves, discover new information. The Internet is there, but it is not the only source of information . . . .

The judges look at their language as a literary tool, the style of writing, the clarity of thought, their practical knowledge of the basics of formatting a letter. This might seem simple, but every one of us would have known in the past the importance of writing a letter,” he told an audience that included students, parents and staff at the General Post Office in Cheapside, The City.

While the Internet was there and technology was used more now, Brathwaite noted, letter writing was still an essential part of business.

It is highly unlikely that you will go through a whole profession without having to write a letter,” he said, “and it is going to be very critical.”

He added: “Furthermore we have also observed that persons who have participated in this competition have excelled in other areas of their lives.”

Second place in the competition went to Frederick Smith Secondary’s Shacora Boyce, who again addressed her interest in environmental topics, just as she did when she placed third in the competition in 2011 on the issue of preserving trees.

Ross Haynes of The St Michael School came third, while fellow student Shaquone Toppin placed fourth.

Honorary mentions went to Agape Foster of Combermere, Cianidi Thomas of Coleridge & Parry and Cya Layne of Harrison’s College, who had placed first last year.

The National Letter Writing Competition is organized annually to encourage schoolchildren to develop an appreciation for letter writing and to hone critical research skills.

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