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Santa Elena teen wins second place award in CARICOM essay competition

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Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2020. 8:58 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Sixteen-year-old Santa Elena student, Simone Ann Cruz, a fourth former at Sacred Heart College has been selected as the second place winner of the CARICOM essay writing competition.

Cruz says that she found out about the inaugural CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) Regional Secondary School Essay Writing Competition 2019-2020 through her social studies teacher, Stefphoney Grinage, who encouraged her to take part in the competition.

The competition was a key component of the advocacy drive by the CCC to foster a competition and consumer culture in the region, from the ground up.

Students were challenged to think about the importance and benefits of competition and consumer protection laws to the region. The CCC received 50 entries from students across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Students in the CARICOM region are commended for the high quality of essays the CCC received, and for their creativity in the use of pictures and videos in some instances to articulate their views on the benefits of competition and consumer protection laws.

Cruz’s essay entitled “How does consumer protection law benefit me and my Region?” was shortlisted by the committee as the second-place winner in the age 16 to 19 years old category.

Cruz told BBN that the process of writing the essay was a blend of moods. “I was stressed because of the pressure that came with having to do the essay. I knew the earnings and the name the winners would receive would be great. There were many times I got irritated because of making mistakes, but in the end it was all worth it. I had the support of my mom, my sisters, my dad, my best friends and my teacher, Ms. Stefphoney,” Cruz commented.

When she was informed that her essay won second place, Simone says that she was in shock.

“It was only until I was sent the official letter congratulating me that I started to convince myself that this was really happening. I am proud of myself more than ever and very much elated,” Simone added.

Simone shared with BBN that the essay was about the laws that protect the rights of consumers and that it is important for consumers to know their rights and how consumers are significant for any business.

Simone encourages all young people to believe in themselves.

“You can make anything happen if you put your mind to it. Don’t give up no matter what happens, keep your eye on the prize. If you believe you can do it, you are already a winner. Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Simone expressed.

Simone receives US $750, a trophy and a certificate of achievement for her win. Her essay will also be published on the CARICOM website.

This regional essay competition was made possible with the partnership of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for funding the competition and consumer videos used to sensitize students across the region and the sponsorship of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Barbados Fair Trading Commission (BFTC).

The excellent advocacy by the national competition and consumer authorities in the CSME in promoting the competition in their respective jurisdictions and the Ministries of Education in each participating Member State and the teachers who ensured that as many students as possible participated in this inaugural competition.

The committee thanked Naparima College, Trinidad for hosting live lectures by the CCC and sharing the live coverage on their Facebook page.

The CCC commends all the students who participated in the competition.

“The quality was above and beyond expectation,” the committee said.

The top 3 essays from both age categories will be published on the CCC’s website in May 2020 and the next top 5 in each category will also be published throughout the year,  to not only showcase the hard work of the students but also for future educational purposes of their colleagues.

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