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Community Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020 - 11:25:19 AM


Winners announced for 'Dignified Girl' Essay Competition
By Nasia R. Colebrooke
Sep 14, 2020 - 10:16:55 AM

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President and Executive Director of The Dignified Girl Project Phillipa Dean (left) awards first place essay winner Shamacka Stubbs with a new tablet. (Photos: Phillipa Dean/DGP)

Nassau, Bahamas – The Dignified Girl Project has announced its top three winners for its 3rd Anniversary Essay Competition. With the topic, “Describe Why You Should Be Awarded a Tablet During COVID-19”, girls, including those with disabilities, in grades six through 12, were given the opportunity to explain why they should win a tablet, in the form of either a 75-100-word essay or a 30-60-second video.

Shamacka Stubbs, seventh-grade student at H. O. Nash Junior High, placed first out of 10 participants. In her video entry, Shamacka described how winning a tablet would be “a huge burden lifted” off her parents’ shoulders. 

“During this pandemic, both of my parents were laid off and it’s a struggle to even put food on the table for my three sisters and I,” said Shamacka. “[At] least we [she and her sisters] could share this tablet for virtual learning.”

Shamacka, who also noted in her video that she has been on the honor roll since the first grade, disclosed that, despite both her water and light being off, she remains positive, as “nothing is too big” for her God.

In second place, with an essay entry, was Brittney Pierre, a sixth-grade student at Columbus Primary. Eager to start virtual learning, Brittney, who acknowledged in her essay that “ignorance is expensive”, mentioned how her parents have also been hit hard financially during this pandemic, with the added burden of being Hurricane Dorian survivors.

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Second place essay winner Brittney Pierre receives a new tablet from president and executive director Phillipa Dean. (Not pictured is third place winner Esther Eugene, who is in Abaco.)

“After the world’s deadliest hurricane, we lost everything we ever owned, and through it all, we still remain strong,” Brittney wrote in her essay.

Rounding out the competition, with a video entry, is third place winner Esther Eugene. The sixth-grade student of Stephen Dillet Primary noted in her video that winning a tablet would be very helpful in completing online assignments and registering online, and that she, too, survived Hurricane Dorian.

“Seconds before the hurricane, my parents were only able to get our documents with the clothes on our back and left the house immediately,” she recalled in her video entry. “Then, after the hurricane, we went back to Nassau, where it was not easy for us [with] the coronavirus, therefore, we came back to Abaco.”

This year’s competition focused on five major components: Flair of Expression; Cogency of Argument; Content; Sincerity of Purpose; and Grammar & Mechanics.

With virtual learning becoming the world’s new norm, President and Executive Director of The Dignified Girl Project Phillipa Dean acknowledged the disparities girls around The Bahamas face.

“We recognize that girls and those with disabilities are at greater risk for illiteracy and discrimination, due to their gender, so we are doing our part to change that. During this COVID-19 pandemic, we want to help remove some of the barriers girls face with their education, such as access to electronic devices, to facilitate virtual learning. If we can increase their access to education, then we are on the right path because an educated girl is an empowered girl.”

The Dignified Girl Project, now in its third year, is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide girls around The Bahamas, both child and adolescent, with proper feminine hygiene products and the education to develop self-confidence, body image and awareness of health and social concerns related to their biological development.

If you are interested in supporting and donating to The Dignified Girl Project, you can reach out to Dean via the group’s Facebook page or via email at dignifiedgirlproject@hotmail.com.

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