Harrison College (HC) excels in areas other than academics, says Principal Juanita Wade.
Speaking to the media following presentations by her students in the Independence Oratorical Competition, she said: “Harrison College has been placing major emphasis on excellence in all areas and we emphasize this at every full assembly. So whatever the students’ talent, we want them to explore it to the fullest and to bring it to fruition.
“We try to have experiences where each child finds his/her niche and can excel. Of course, academic excellence is at the core of everything that we do; so what I saw just now was just an example of hard work that has been taking place since September.”
The competition, which targeted juniors, was held by the Kolij Lib Orators in the school hall.
Noting the importance of student participation in extracurricular activities, in addition to being successful at academics, Mrs. Wade said: “I have a special place in my heart for extracurricular activities and I try to show them by example. I make them understand that this is going to enhance their lives. We know for example that universities are looking for added value; they are looking for what else the student can produce, businesses are looking for this as well and so we are emphasizing this.
“Every time we speak to the students at assembly we let them know it is not just because you want to get into a university or a job, but because you need to contribute; you need to share your talent and your experiences with the rest of the country and therefore great emphasis is placed on extracurricular activities.”
Meanwhile, English teacher and Faculty Advisor for Kolij Lib Orators, Gloria Haynes, expressing pleasure at the quality of the annual oratorical competition, said: “It is hosted by the Kolij Lib Orators, our public speaking and debating society, that’s the junior arm of the debating society of Harrison College. Every year, we decide we want to let our students be sensitized about Barbadian culture, anything to do with ‘Barbadiana‘.
“We always ask our contestants to come forward. You do not necessarily have to be a part of the Kolij Lib Orators to be a part of the Independence Oratorical competition. We throw it out to all junior school members. So, we just want to also engage the students. We recognize that they have so much within them and we want to develop their public speaking and oratorical skills. That’s the real reason behind it.”
Students were coached, mentored and prepared by Toastmasters. The two-part competition included Prepared Speeches by Sarah Bisram, Jaydn Gill, Abianna Fenty, Tahirah Mann, Sanaa Elcock, Zakariyya Nana, Lydia Simmons and Evron Briggs and Table Topics by Jireh Moseley, Leah Persaud, Shania Thomas; Samuel Holder and Zarina Maynard.
Tahirah Mann emerged winner of the Prepared Speeches with a presentation on Obesity, while Evron Briggs with an exposition on Potholes and Sarah Bisram with Cutting came second and third, respectively.
The winner of the Table Topics was Jireh Moseley, while Leah Persaud came second. This impromptu session required the student to imagine being the National Flag and sharing sentiments with Barbadians on the approach of the nation’s 52nd anniversary of Independence.