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June 25, 2014
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Shanika Howard shines in World Environment Day Debate Competition

Shanika Howard (right) of Green Island Primary is elated as she receives the 'Best Speaker' trophy from Dionne Rose, Manager of Public Education and Corporate Communication at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). - Contributed

When 11-year-old Shanika Howard of Green Island Primary School was informed that she was best speaker of the World Environment Day Debate Competition she was elated.

"I felt overjoyed and overwhelmed. I didn't expect it. Then when I heard my name, I cried tears of joy," she said with a broad smile. Howard was among the winners of the competition, which was organised by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in observation of World Environment Day on June 5.

Meanwhile, Savanna-la-Mar Primary School emerged the winner of the competition, which was held at the JN Source Centre in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. The competition was opened to all primary schools in the area. Five schools competed. The schools were Broughton, Townhead, Savanna-la-Mar, Unity and Green Island. The students argued the moot 'Be it resolved that safeguarding Negril's coastline against the impact of climate change is the sole responsibility of the State.'

In the end, Savanna-la-mar Primary copped top honours while Green Island Primary placed second. Unity Primary rounded out the top three.

Coach of the winning team and teacher at the school, Tanique Lewis-Myrie said she was overjoyed at her students' performance in the competition. According to Mrs. Lewis-Myrie her students are now more environmentally aware and in a better position to play their part in safeguarding the environment.

"The students now have a better understanding of terms like global warming and beach erosion. They are also more aware of what they should and should not do to help Jamaica to adapt to climate change and, from all indications they are both willing and ready to play their part," she said.

Dionne Rose, Manager of NEPA's Public Education and Corporate Communication Branch said she was pleased with the overall event.

"Young people comprise a critical component of our audience when it comes to environmental education activities. We are heartened by how passionate these students are about the environment and by the high level of support that this debate competition received from both teachers and students," said Rose.

The top three schools received trophies courtesy of Jamaica National Building Society and school supplies from Sandals Resorts. The World Environment Day Debate Competition formed part of activities to celebrate National Environmental Awareness Week which was observed June 1-7.

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