Over $20,000 in cash and prizes go to finalists in DBS Radio National Reading Competition

Over EC$20,000 in cash and other prizes were distributed to the ten finalists who participated in the 2024 DBS Radio National Reading Competition, under the theme: “Reading and Creole.”

The awards ceremony took place at the Goodwill Parish Hall earlier today.

Cataleya Poponne of the Roseau Primary School won that competition during the finals held at the Emerald Movies on Monday, May 13, 2024. Poponne, who scored a total of 711 points, competed against nine other students from various primary schools across Dominica to secure the title. She was also the recipient of the Felix Henderson Award.

Zaida Capitolin of the St Martin Primary School placed 2nd with a total of 703 points, Kriston Blaize of the Pioneer Preparatory School placed 3rd with 665 points and Sakeri-Leontyne Astaphan who represented the Convent Preparatory School secured 4th place with a total of 663 points.

The other participants were Nayaeal Paul from the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School, Jeffana Joseph of the San Sauveur Primary School, Jeran Lawrence of the Christian Union Primary School, Abdiel Andrew from the Paix Bouche Primary School, Janae Robinson who represented the Berean Christian Academy and Joshua Nelson of the Lighthouse Christian Academy.

Education Minister Octavia Alfred

“When you achieve [something] like what we achieved today, it’s not for you, it’s for others. So, therefore I think in our culture we do not see children getting involved in certain things, because we think that’s for the adults,” Education Minister Octavia Alfred said while addressing the ceremony. “But I want to challenge all of you sitting around the table to start something because of where you are today.”

She continued, “Go back to your school, write a program for September, start something at your school. But, ask some of the people with big bookstores how they began.”

Alfred further challenged students to organize a reading club.

“Because after today you shouldn’t just end there because you were top in DBS Radio Reading Contest, but you want to go back to your school and eight years from now you can say, this institution is how many years old because I was a winner of the DBS Reading Contest,” she advised.

She added, “What about going down to Grade-K? One of your favourite stories that you’ve read, what about asking your Principal to go to Grade-K every Friday afternoon after lunch to read a story to them?”

Alfred warned of short-lived pursuits and encouraged the students to be consistent over the long term, to build a solid foundation.

“We do certain things for a reward and when we receive the reward that’s where it ends, but I challenge you to start something so that you can rest upon that foundation 15 years from now when whatever you’ve started makes a name for itself.”

Ivona Jno Baptiste-Lugay

Program Director at DBS Radio, Ivona Jno Baptiste Lugay, referring to the impact of the program, believes that if a survey were to be conducted and a certain section of the population was interviewed, while adjusting the results accordingly, “we would find stronger readers in every community.”

“Not only those who participated, over the years, but parents, teachers, siblings, friends, in fact, more readers as a result of this competition…” she stated.

With that said, Jno Baptiste-Lugay indicated that a literate and well-educated Dominica will have a higher chance of technological advancement.

“We at DBS Radio know all too well that when a country has a higher literacy rate it is able to provide better access to technology to its citizens.”

She is of the view that encouraging reading is a great way to boost the national literacy rate.

“DBS Radio will continue the mission,” Jno Baptiste-Lugay stated.

Kirshena Joseph

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the DBS National Reading Competition, Kirshena Joseph said for over 50 years DBS Radio has solidified itself as a pillar in Dominica’s society.

“One of our most important roles, contributing to the education of the nation’s youth,” she stated. “Every year we have seen the National Reading Competition grow and for that we are proud.”

Joseph said further that DBS radio continues its mission to preserve Dominica’s Creole culture.

“2024 proved to be the year that the organizing team decided to challenge ourselves on an ambitious task to visit every primary school on the island in the month leading up to the start of the competition,” she explained. “We touched base with 57 out of the 58 primary schools on the island and out of that 58, 48 participated in the competition this year”

Joseph indicated that a report on the school tour will be shared with the relevant parties within the Ministry of Education, “as we hope to assist in finding solutions to issues raised and ways to build on the area’s schools…”

An award to the most memorable reader was presented to Kaelan Burton Cabey of the Sineku Primary School in honour of Kheanillia Barrie who died at the age of 13, in May 2023. Barrie was the winner of the DBS Radio Ministry of Education National Reading Competition in 2019.

The DBS National Reading Competition was the brainchild of the late iconic broadcaster and Creole legend Felix Henderson.

The Headline Sponsor of the competition was Dragon Windows.

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