SPECIAL: U.S. Embassy Launches School Competition to Capture Jamaica’s 50 Years In Just One Photograph

25 Schools Compete to Capture One Iconic Image

If the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” still rings true, then Jamaicans will soon have at least 25,000 words depicting Jamaica’s experience over her 50 years as an independent democracy.

Photo by fightingtheboss

Staff and students from some 23 schools across the island and members of the media, including MoneyMax101.com, were welcomed inside the United States Embassy in Kingston on Friday the 20th of April, 2012 for the launch of what is expected to be a spellbinding competition.

Coordinated and funded by the United States Mission to Jamaica – “50 Years of Democracy in Focus” – a photo-journalism competition involving 25 select schools from across the island was officially launched at the United States Embassy Kingston on Friday.

The Search for One Iconic Photograph

Photo by SaZeOd

Endorsed by U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela E. Bridgewater, the competition challenges students to reflect on Jamaica’s journey over the past 50 years and to capture the essence of our story in one iconic photograph.

The photograph submitted by each school will then be uploaded to the U.S. Embassy-Kingston’s Facebook Page where – in keeping with the whole business of democracy – fan votes will determine the top 3.

This writer is honestly intrigued to see what the students come up with. How do you narrow down the essence of 50 years of democracy in Jamaica to one breathtaking, photograph? What does 50 years of democracy in Jamaica look like in one picture? The team that wins will be incredibly deserving.

Great Prizes

At the launch, all the teams were given a brand new digital camera, a sweet color-photo printer and photo printing paper. Win lose or draw all participating schools get to keep the digital cameras and color printers that were handed over to them at the Embassy on Friday. Everybody wins in the end.

The top school however will receive enough equipment to run a mini-newspaper: a professional-grade photo copier-printer, a desktop computer with a full desktop publishing suite and a professional digital camera. The schools placing second and third will receive professional digital cameras.

Wide and Varied Participating Schools

MoneyMax101, was particularly pleased that the participation spread beyond the usual top-tier Kingston-based schools. While the vast majority of national programs in Jamaica are dominated by a select few, the U.S. Mission has sought to include a wide variety of schools, from the traditional Kingston based Ardenne High to less traditional Frome Technical High way out in the West and the virtually unknowns like Spot Valley High.

The full list of schools participating in the competition:

Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Thomas & Portland: Ardenne High, Mavis Bank High, Morant Bay High, Penwood High, Yallahs High, Annotto Bay High,

St. James & Westmoreland: Cambridge High, Cornwall College, Frome Technical High, Green Pond High, Hampton High School, Irwin High School, Montego Bay High School, Spot Valley High, St James High School, St. Catherine, Clarendon,

St. Elizabeth & Hanover:  Black River High, Bustamante High, Cumberland High, Denbigh High, Dinthill Technical High, Lacovia High, Hopewell High, Newell High, Old Harbour High, St Elizabeth Technical High

U.S. Mission Working to Build Journalism In Schools

The “50 Years of Democracy in Focus” photo-journalism competition is just one of a number of initiatives the U.S. Embassy has undertaken thus far in encouraging and enhancing organic journalistic efforts in Jamaican high schools. All the schools involved in the present competition have participated in at least one Journalism workshop with the Embassy before.

MoneyMax101 will be following the competition and, hopefully, the local journalism efforts of the schools involved, long after this competition has ended.


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