For the first time in the history of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association???s (FCCA) Essay and Poster Competition, Barbados has landed first place in the regional leg of the competition.

Bringing glory to Barbados and Queen???s College is Adiel Alleyne, whose eye-catching poster that depicted environmental awareness and national heritage, got the judges??? nod in the senior category of the competition.

For her efforts, the 16-year-old fifth form student grabbed the top prize of US $3,000 and a similar cash prize award for the school.??Adiel recounted her jubilation when she found out that she was the overall winner and what the award means to the country, during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service.

She said conceptualising the poster was a ???labour of love??? which took five days and lots of sleepless nights to achieve the finished product.

Ms. Alleyne said: ???I am extremely happy that all of the work I did paid off and I want to thank all the people that encouraged me to enter the competition. I believe that Barbados is a very beautiful island and it was not hard to capture that [in a drawing].

Adiel also gave an insight into the concept of the winning poster and the themes that it depicted. ???In the poster were diverse people from different aspects of life holding up different posters such as student holding up a poster showcasing??environmental awareness, and the heading on that poster was Your Environmental Awareness, to highlight the fact that each person can do something about preserving the environment. The other theme that came out was national pride.??? she explained.

The budding artist, who plans to work in the industry either as an artist or a teacher on completion of further studies, subscribed to the view that tourism is, and will continue to be, the bedrock of the island???s economy.

Ms. Alleyne also encouraged her peers to enter the FCCA competitions which she described as ???a great experience???. ???While doing the research for the poster I found a lot of information [about the industry] that I did not know before and I hope that the???competition would continue to raise awareness about the environment and tourism.???

Art Teacher, Shauntelle Fergus, who taught Adiel from third form and at the Caribbean Secondary Examinations level in fourth and fifth forms, described her as very talented.??

???She has always been very talented and I am proud to see how much she has developed over the years. Adiel has matured both as a student and an artist and as she said we [teachers] encouraged her to enter because I knew that she had the potential to win. So, I was very pleased to hear that she has won,??? Ms. Fergus underlined.

Ms. Fergus said the school had been victorious at the local leg of the competition but it was the first time the school had won the regional competition and described the feat as a ???great accomplishment???.

Head of Visual Arts, Althea Wood, said she was also pleased with Adiel???s achievement and added that the school always encouraged all its students to enter various competitions for the students??? experience and personal development.

???This particular win is important not only for the school but to Barbados because I think it is the first time that the island has won the first prize. We have been entering the FCCA competition for a number of years and we will definitely be entering the competition next year,??? Mrs. Wood added.

In congratulating Adiel on her achievement, Principal, Dr. David Browne, described the win as ???quite an achievement for the school???. Last year, we had Brendan Gonsalves, who entered the poster competition and placed third in the competition regionally. But, this is the first time that one of our students has won the competition regionally. It has not surprised me at all [because] Art is an area of excellence at Queen???s College for many years and we have always done very well in art and poster competitions,??? he said.

Dr. Browne further stated: ???This is part of the strategic plan to emphasise the [importance of] core curricular and extra-curricular activities and participation in competitions. In our strategic plan, we call them the character building community projects. So, we encourage our students to participate in competitions.???

He also disclosed that Queen???s College also performed creditably in the Caribbean Examinations Council???s CAPE examinations, securing 24 Merit Awards throughout the region at the CAPE level.??

???So, I am also proud about that???We emphasise excellence and in the context of tourism???we believe in elevating tourism and understanding its importance to the??economy and the people of the region – a feature that we recognise that the schools must play. We aim for excellence by trying to mould our students to have a sense of purpose. School is not just about drifting along???Queen???s College is a place of serious business???.,??? he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, congratulated Adiel for capturing first prize and added: ???For as long as I have been at the Ministry we have placed in both the essay and poster competitions, but this is the first time that we have actually won a division. We are proud of her and we sincerely hope that it would encourage other Barbadians to get involved in these competitions,??? he underlined.

The Tourism Minister said participating in competitions promoted a greater awareness of cruise tourism and other aspects of tourism and commended the FCCA for hosting the competitions.

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