Wired868 hosts essay contest for young people


Novelist Lisa Allen-Agostini will chair the jury for the 11-15 year old category in Wired868’s Write Start Essay Contest. -Paula Obe

The online journal Wired868 seeks to develop and develop critical thinking skills among 11-18 year olds in Trinidad and Tobago. He hopes to do so through his Write Start 2021 essay competition.

And there is $ 26,000 in prizes to be won. The contest was launched on September 28 and the submission deadline is October 29.

The newspaper’s managing director and editor, Lasana Liburd, said US-based Trinidadian businessman Sean Powder came to the newspaper with the idea.

As one of his readers and contributors he wanted to encourage dynamic thinking among young TT nationals and asked the newspaper if he could help them come up with a concept, Liburd said.

Liburd said he then involved Wired868 columnist and editor Earl Best. Discussions on the competition proceeded fairly quickly and some discussions took place in early September, he added.

“He is truly a long-time educator. He has taught at Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and is currently a lecturer at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of TT (COSTAATT).

Liburd and Best both worked for the Trinidad Guardian and Express newspapers.

Best and Liburd shaped what the competition would look like and decided on the age limits and categories so that “an 11 year old boy would not compete with an 18 year old boy”.

They also came up with the topics, Liburd said.

Best proposed the topic for 16-18 year olds and they are asked to “describe how they think the first post-covid19 carnival will be different from its predecessors”.

Liburd who proposed the subject for 11-15 year olds. They are asked to write a fictional story called “The Day I Met My Local Hero” and the hero must be “a real person”.

Although TT has a high level of education, the newspaper and his team felt that “the level of original thinking, perhaps even understanding, is not really what it should be,” Liburd said.

“Most of the time our education system seems to be based on rote learning or just remembering what the teacher told you and regurgitating it for exams, eventually.

“So the challenge is to give them something that… they have to come up with a concept and ideas on their own. “

These subjects also have a dual purpose: to call for creativity while giving the general public something that interests them.

There will be two separate juries. The COSTAATT Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communication Studies will judge the 16-18 group.

Group 11-15 will be judged by a panel chaired by novelist, poet and columnist Lisa Allen-Agostini and which includes former head of the English department of QRC Francis Warner and writer Raheema Sayyid-Andrews.

The newspaper has taken steps to eliminate bias. When the essays are submitted to the judges, there will be only one number; no name or school.

The competition was approved by the Ministry of Education and the document received a letter of approval from the Minister of Education, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly. He also helped promote the competition and publicize the competition in schools.

One of its other sponsors bmobile offers a mobile data plan to the winners.

Although this is his first year, Liburd hopes to continue competing in the future.

The winners will be announced on December 13.

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