Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Wolmerian wins Rita Marley Foundation essay competition

Winner of the Rita Marley Foundation’s Essay Competition, David Salmon of Wolmer’s Boys’ School, was recently presented with his winning prizes at the National Library.

Salmon topped a strong field from high schools across the island to finish ahead of the Ardenne High pair of Ruwenzori Ra and Adjaynae Billings.

They wrote on the topic: “Every man thinks his burden is the heaviest because they feel the pain. Who feels it knows it. But, don’t sit by the window gazing at the moon. Get right up and move.”

Rosemary Duncan, Manager of the Rita Marley Foundation, said there was an increase in the number of entries this year, with teachers being the first judges, as they were the ones who selected the top entries from each school.

According to competition judge Vernon Darby, the essays submitted by the students were of a high quality, as they got their points across with good communication skills.

Commenting on Salmon’s winning entry Darby said: “he communicated very effectively. His response was very logical. I think what happened, most of the other students tended to analyse the topic. What he did was to take that topic and presented an essay, based on that topic.”

Salmon said that although he was sitting CAPE examinations at the time, he was encouraged by his teacher to enter. He was however was castigated by his mother on his first draft, as she believed he could have done better.


He said, “so that inspired me to go and redraft the entire essay and that is the draft that I had submitted and I am happy that that is the essay that won. I learnt from this experience that through every challenge there is a lesson that can be learned in order to produce a meaningful legacy of action, one should go and not be bound by fear but to take a step and try.”

“What I think won it for me, well I would say, grounding the essay in realistic examples that people can relate to, because anyone can string together words in a highfalutin way, but examples are important when dealing with this and showing how this can be related to the wider audience is also key,” Salmon said.

Salmon is in Upper Sixth Form and is the outgoing Deputy Head Boy, president of the debating society, general secretary of the Student Council and vice president of the Inter School Christian Fellowship (ISCF). He also played badminton in his junior years at high school and tried track and field for one year.

He said, “I believe that education is not just formal, in-class teaching. Persons can learn from other activities so each year before I go into a new school term, I plan out all the activities that I plan on doing beforehand.”

Rita Marley Foundation’s Essay competition 2018

Meanwhile, the Ardenne High finalist believes the essay will help in her intended career path of being an author, like her mother Kamau Mahakoe.

She said, “it was certainly practice in writing, which is going to prove useful when I actually start writing books. I started planning for one of my novels just recently and it’s going pretty good.”

“At first I didn’t know what to do, then I was told by my teacher to say how I interpreted it and how it affected me or otherwise, and I based it on that – what it meant to me. And from that I gave examples of other people in real life and how I saw the relationship between the quote and them,” she said.

Billings used his mathematical inclination to inspire his essay. He said in trying to get prepare for the essay, he wanted to give up, as he wasn’t getting the unique inspiration that he wanted.

He said on the morning of submission, it dawned on him that he could use a physics formula to accomplish the goal. He said, “in Physics, there is a formula for momentum which is mass times velocity. Mass would represent how heavy the burden is and velocity would represent the person who is sitting by the window.”

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