Essay Competition 2009 Jamaica

The Esmie L. Walters Scholarship

In honor of Ms. Esmie L. Walters, an essay competition has been established, in her name, as a way of recognizing her commitment to education. This scholarship is valued at $30,000 JMD and will be awarded to a student with the best essay. 

Two other prizes of $12,000 and $8,000 will also be awarded to the second and third place winners.

1ST PRIZE:       $30,000 JMD
2ND PRIZE:       $12,000 JMD
3RD PRIZE:       $  8,000 JMD


Jamaica is currently plagued by several social issues that affect minors. Unfortunately, many of these issues are described as ‘old news’.  Two categories of these social issues are Education and Values, and evidence exists that there is a relationship between the two.  A few examples are noted below:
  • Education - academic shortcomings, guidance, illiteracy, personal commitment, truancy
  • Values - anti-social behavior, ethics, personal responsibility, self-control, negative peer pressure


You were awarded a 3-month summer internship working with a non-profit organization and given a challenging, but high profile project to do.  Upon completion you will present your proposal to the organization’s Board of Directors.  If your proposal is accepted you will have the opportunity to lead the project team after completing your studies.

  1. What is the relationship between the categories Education and Values; can one exist without the other? Why?
  2. Are the issues in these categories getting better or worse in Jamaica? What is the rationale for your response?
  3. Which of these two categories need urgent attention in your high school and why?
  4. Also, design a 5 year multi-stage plan to eradicate the social issues that are suffocating students in Jamaica. 

Your ideas must be realistic, and the results viable and long-lasting.  Feel free to use historical data or create plausible hypotheticals.  Judges will look for essays that explicitly convey the ideas of the writer, and where these ideas are logically organized.

  • Open to all high school students in Jamaica for the 2014/2015 academic year, excluding prior winners
  • Submit completed application form and essays via email to HORACE.DALEY@PJFJ.ORG by June 30, 2014 
  • Application form is located at the bottom right hand corner below
  • Essays must be no less than 1,500 and no more than 2,000 words in length
  • Essays must be written by students
  • Students are limited to one (1) essay submission

Finalist will receive further correspondence from the organization and winners will be announced at our Annual Awards Banquet on August 3, 2014 in Kingston, Jamaica. The organization reserves the right to disqualify any essay found to be in violation of our guidelines without any notification to you.

High School Scholarship Application Form
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File Type: pdf
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Jamaica’s Gabrielle Pratt Wins Florida-Caribbean Association Foundation Children’s Essay Contest

Gabrielle Pratt receives a certificate of congratulations from Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism.

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Jamaica’s Gabrielle Pratt of St. Andrew Preparatory School has topped the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Foundation Children’s Essay Contest. She emerged the winner among contestants from nineteen participating nations, effectively elaborating on the competition’s topic ‘Why is it important that the cruise ships come to my destination.’

Entering in the junior division of the competition, Gabrielle posited solid arguments in support of the importance of cruise ships to destination Jamaica. Among the key points, she argued that cruise ships, also called floating cities, are a significant source of foreign exchange from passenger spending.She also elaborated that the ships are a source of employment, hiring many of her countrymen in various capacities such as engineers, captains and chefs. The development of resort towns as in the case of Falmouth in Trelawny, as well as the cultural exchanges between the visitors and Jamaicans that the ships facilitate, were equally important areas of discussion that she highlighted in her essay.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said, “I am very pleased that Garbrielle has emerged the winner of this very important essay competition. She has truly done Jamaica proud and has built on the successes of the many Jamaican students who have excelled in this competition in the past.” He added that, “Her success is proof that she is an outstanding scholar who is poised for great things in the years to come. I congratulate her on this victory and wish her continued success in the future.”

Paul Pennicook (left), Director of Tourism, Gabrielle Pratt (second left), Christine Pratt (second right), Gabrielle’s mother and Janet Walsh Davis (right), Principal, St Andrew Preparatory School during the presentation at the Jamaica Tourist Board in Kingston.

“Heartiest congratulations on a job well done, Gabrielle. We knew that your essay was an excellent piece of work, and your triumph over your peers in the region confirms our conviction,” said Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism.  “You masterfully illustrated the critical role that the cruise shipping industry plays in Jamaica’s tourist industry. We are extremely proud of you. You are definitely one for the future,” he added.

As the champion in her division, Gabrielle will be awarded a scholarship, and her alma mater, St Andrew Preparatory School will also receive a monetary prize.  She along with a chaperone will travel to St Maarten to receive the award during the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Conference in October later this year.

Each year the Jamaica Tourist Board organizes the national leg of the FCCA Foundation Children’s Essay Contest and students are selected from the junior and senior divisions to represent the island. The competition aims to encourage children’s creative expression on the importance of cruise tourism, thereby generating awareness of the vital role that cruise shipping plays in the Caribbean.

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