Peace Corps Volunteer, Salena Reynolds (right), presents the winning trophy to the Balaclava High School team. The team members from (left are) Trovenica Mundell, Kimone Nembhard, Charlton Camock, Ana Marie Reid and Camala Foster.
The St. Elizabeth-based Balaclava High School has won the 2010 Health Debating Competition organised by the parish's Health Department.
At the finals of the competition held recently at the Black River High School, Balaclava beat six other institutions to take home the winning trophy among other prizes. The Hampton School placed second.
Munroe College and Black River, Lacovia, Lewisville and St. Elizabeth Technical High, were the other schools that participated in the finals of the competition where they debated the topic: 'Urbanisation is a major contributing factor to chronic lifestyle diseases'.
Head of the English Department at Balaclava High and coach of the winning team, Ms. Valrey Sleaugh-Forsythe, credited the victory to preparation. She said that teachers spent a lot of time with the students getting them ready for the contest.
"Balaclava has a group of students who are easily motivated," she said. "They persevere even against the odds because they enjoy winning, and the teachers are very dedicated and are always willing to help. The competition helps the students to be aware of what is going on around them," she said.
Elated team member, Mr. Charlton Cammock, informed that the process of preparing for the competition required a lot of research. "We worked day and night and now that we have won, we are all elated," he said.
Manager of the St. Elizabeth Health Services, Mr. George Sloley, stated that the annual contest provides a "good foundation for students as they learn to discuss and explore topical issues in Jamaica and the wider world. We look forward to it year after year."