Dr Pramila Devi, USP’s Lautoka Campus Director presents the award to Kelemedi Gukirewa in Nadi.
Six (6) secondary school students have been awarded prizes for The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Open Day Essay Competition which ran from June to September 2017.
Students from around the Pacific were encouraged to submit essays on “How USP contributes to the sustainable development of the Pacific region with examples and how you see USP shaping the future of youths in the region” in two categories.The Category 1 competition was for Year 10 and 11 students with a word limit of 1000-1500 words and Category 2 was for Year 12 and 13 students who had to write 2000-2500 words.
Grace Winyan Fong from Fiji’s Yat Sen Secondary School was the winner of Category 1 and won herself an Acer Laptop and six-month velocity package.
The 1st runner up was Kelemedi Gukirewa, who is a Year 11 student at Nadi Muslim College, Fiji, and was awarded FJD1000. The 2nd runner up was Woo Rin Shin, a Year 11 student from Lycée Français J.M.G. Le Clézio De school from Port Vila, Vanuatu, received FJD500.
The Category 2 competition winner was Vanessa Mitchell, who is a Year 12 student from Swami Vivekananda College, Fiji. Vanessa won an Acer Laptop and Brother Printer.
Janet Salata, a Year 13 student at Aligengeo Secondary School, Solomon Islands was the 1st runner up and received FJD1000 while Shouvik Hassan from Jai Narayan College was awarded FJD500 as the 2nd runner up.
The schools of the first prize winners in both categories were also awarded FJD2000 each, sponsored by USP Book Centre.
The aim of running the competition was to let students know about the University’s 50th anniversary in 2018 and to gauge the knowledge students have about USP.
The Judging Panel of the essay competition included, Professor Vijay Naidu of Faculty of Business and Economics as the Chair, Dr Ledua Waqaliti from Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, Dr Bibhya Sharma from Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and Mr Jaindra Karan, Director Development, Marketing Communications and Alumni.
The judging panel placed particular emphasis on the originality and communication, depth of understanding that the students have of USP, and proper use of language and vocabulary in the essays submitted.
Mr Karan congratulated all the winners for their excellent research, content and use of language, which, he noted was clearly reflected in their entries for the competition.
Talking about the essay topic, Mr Karan said that one of the aims of choosing such topic was to encourage students to know not only about the University but its importance in the region as well.
He added that this was because when the students come to USP, they not only interact with students from their communities but from around the region.
Mr Karan acknowledged the sponsors for the prizes, namely, Telecommunications Fiji Limited (TFL) and USP Bookcentre.
For Grace, the announcement came as a surprise. She said that winning the competition was beyond her expectation and thanked her Principal, Ms Miriama Naicegucegu for motivating her to enter into the competition.
“USP is one of the major universities in the Pacific region so of course it will contribute a lot to the sustainable development, its programmes are also recognised internationally and at the same time they are relevant to the Pacific,” Grace said.
Shouvik dedicated his award to his parents, English teacher and friends at Jai Narayan College and thanked USP for the initiative in running the competition.
He commented that the education system at USP is very precise and focuses on students’ goals and produces very ambitious and focused graduates.
Shouvik said that the University should continue to run such competition and encouraged fellow secondary school students to grab such opportunities as they come by.
Mrs Naicegucegu, Principal of Yat Sen Secondary congratulated the winners and acknowledged both the Suva schools for maintaining their standards.
She thanked the University for setting the platform of trying to identify the talents students have in the member country schools.
“I am glad that in its 50th year, the University is providing such platform for secondary school students and getting their talents recognised, and I must thank the University for this,” Mrs Naicegucegu said.
She emphasised that setting such trend is the responsibility of school leaders and added that all teachers have a duty to recognise the talent within the students and develop them.
16-year-old Kelemedi from Nadi acknowledged the support of his English teacher, Mrs Sandesh Singh and thanked his sisters for assisting him in editing the essay.
Kelemedi said that he is now confident and motivated to participate in more such competitions in the future.
“This competition has boosted my confidence and I hope to compete again if I am given another opportunity in the future,” he said.
His essay talked about a girl from a small island in Fiji who attended USP where she learned about renewable energy and USP’s role in sustainable development.
Dr Pramila Devi, USP’s Lautoka Campus Director made the presentation on behalf of the University at Nadi Muslim College’s Annual Awards Function on 22 November.
Campus Director’s from USP’s Solomon Islands and Emalus Campus will present the awards to the winners from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu respectively.