GHS student wins U.S Embassy Speech Competition

By Admin. Updated 1:22 p.m., Saturday, March 6, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Marika Baptiste of the St. Vincent Girls’ High School emerged winner of the U.S. Embassy’s Fourth Annual Black History Month Secondary School Speech Competition, the embassy posted today (March 6).

The embassy stated that Marika gave a passionate explanation of the importance of the role of women in politics, challenging the women of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to “not just blindly follow the rules, but to be involved in making them.”

The United States Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS opened applications in January for its Black History Month Secondary School Speech Competition to all secondary school students in the Eastern Caribbean.

According to embassy’s website, “each February, Black History Month celebrates the contributions made by persons of African descent and celebrates the defining moments in their history that have shaped society. Young people represent the future decision makers, innovators, and leaders of a country. They are vital voices, which in the face of challenges, employ unique approaches to solve problems and can mobilize entire communities to be active agents for positive change”.

Secondary school students (ages 13 to 16 years) who applied from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were required to deliver a speech, not exceeding three (3) minutes, to respond to one of the two topics, the embassy stated.

The grand prize package was valued at $1,000 USD for students and their school, the embassy’s website stated.

Secondary school students were to complete a Google Form on the embassy’s website and upload a video of their recorded speech to via WeTransfer, no later than 11:59 p.m. AST Friday, February 19, 2021.

This year, the speech prompts were:

“In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first Black, female major-party candidate to run for the office of the President of the United States. Almost 50 years later, Kamala Harris will become the first Black South Asian female Vice President of the United States. Citing examples from your country, assess how black females have been able to break barriers in a system in which they have been historically underrepresented. Do you believe that enough is being done to encourage gender equality and racial diversity? Explain why or why not.”


“Author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote: “A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself.” Courage, integrity, charisma, commitment, communication skills are just a few of the attributes that are often mentioned as characteristics of great leaders. In January, we celebrate the lives and accomplishments of two individuals who possessed these attributes, Martin Luther King Jr. and Errol Barrow. What quality or qualities do you believe are the most important in a leader? Why?”

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