The US embassy, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), celebrated the winners of the Third Annual Young Writers Competition at VCUQatar in Education City, yesterday.
Nearly 300 essays were submitted for this year’s competition and the top five writers from each grade were recognised at the event. The winning entries will also be featured in the Third Volume of the “Young Writers Journal” which will be published by the US Embassy in July.
Dana Shell Smith, US Ambassador to Qatar, congratulated all the students who participated in this year’s competition and commended the efforts of teachers, especially, for their invaluable support.
Talking to The Peninsula Dana Shell Smith said: “Young Writers Program is an incredible programme started on very small scale but now reaches 80% of the Qatari schools. This is something we are proud of. The theme of this year’s competition was Shaping our World for the Better which speaks directly to the importance of education in shaping our world, and particularly our youth, for the better. Every year I get excited to hand over the certificates to the winners of the competition.”
“This year I experienced something new, The piece written by Marah Ghazal made me and everyone sitting in the audience cry. I told her it’s a very powerful piece of writing. Marah is a talented writer and her story was worth sharing with everyone. I congratulate every writer who participated in this competition,” she added.
Dean Akel I Kahera of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, said: “We humbly appreciate Ambassador Smith and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s steadfast dedication to the Young Writers Program in its efforts to encourage Qatar’s youth to read, write and think critically about important topics in society. In our eyes, all of the students are winners, and we champion each one of them on pushing towards their goals.”
Meanwhile, during the event Marah Ghazal, Fifth grade student from Zaynab Bint Jahash Primary School for Girls, who stood first in grade five category read her emotions filled poem ‘Fireworks’ and Waseem Ragab Ayab, Eighth grade student from Osama Bin Zaid Preparatory School for Boys read his poem ‘Freedom Tree’ to the audience.
Maryam Al Hamadi, Student from Al Bayan Preparatory School for Girls, who was one of the winners told The Peninsula that: “ I was very confident that I will definitely score a position in this competition because theme this year was easy to understand and clear. My essay was about how to create peace around the world as eventually everyone is quite busy creating their own world.”
The Young Writers Competition is the central component of the larger Young Writers Program, which strives to encourage Qatar’s youth to read, write and think critically about important topics in their society, while improving their English literacy skills. According to many students who participate, the writing competition improves their imagination and gives them ideas on how to change the world through writing.
In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Child Development Center sponsored its first Autism Awareness Essay Contest in April 2016. This contest was held to raise awareness about autism and children with special needs. All students can benefit from inclusion through providing awareness as well as opportunities for meaningful friendships; which are ingredients for higher acceptance of individual differences and a positive and tolerant school environment.
The Autism Awareness Essay Contest is an opportunity to introduce autism to students who have limited or no experience with a peer with autism before. Students were assigned a reading based on their age, wrote a reflection, and submitted it to us. All participants will receive a certificate of participation and shortlisted students will receive a gift certificate.
Shortlist of Winning Essays:
Primary (ages 6-8) : "A Friend Like Simon" by Kate Gaynor
- Gabby C., age 9, Doha College
- Zaynah J., age 8, Doha College
- Faris S., age 8, Doha College
- Karli K., age 8, ACS Doha International School
- Daisy C., age 8, Doha College - West Bay
Congratulations to all of the students that participated!
Over 60 essays were received and reviewed by our judges:
Panel of Judges:
Katie Philcox, Lead ABA Therapist
Jennelle Olalo, Early Curriculum Specialist
Akansha Trigunayat, Director of Operations
Dr. Clayton Keller, Program Director of Special Education, Qatar University
Essay contest participants from ACS Doha International School with Ms. Velasco.
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