On World AIDS Day…Thursday, December 2, 2010 – 11:39 am
Source: Guyana Chronicle
St. Stanislaus defeats 11 other schools in debate
THE Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS) HIV/AIDS Programme hosted an Inter-School Impromptu Speaking Competition yesterday, at its Eve Leary, Kingston, Georgetown headquarters, in observance of World AIDS Day 2010.
The occasion is celebrated globally on December 1 and it marked the start of the GRCS Anti-Stigma and Discrimination Campaign themed ‘Come Closer’.
St. Stanislaus College emerged winner of the contest, defeating 11 other participating schools from Regions Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) and Four (Demerara/Mahaica), each of which made a presentation on a different topic under the global theme ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’.
Speaking at the start of the rivalry, GRCS Field Manager, Mr. Apollo Kanhai, said it is part of the effort, by local and international partners, to increase awareness by placing the focus on young people.
Emphasising the importance of youth involvement, he said: “In this way, we can have youths speak to their peers, who would listen and interact with them.”
This is vital, because persons between the ages of 10 and 24 years are the ones mostly infected and affected, Kanhai explained.
He said the 2010 theme encourages deeper understanding, develops partnerships, challenges discriminatory laws and encourages persons to get tested.
“Being HIV positive does not make you any less of a human being,” Kanhai told the audience.
After his introductory remarks, the participants were briefed on the rules and format of the debate and invited to each compose their presentation in 30 seconds and deliver it in two minutes.
The first competitor, Alexis Mc Curdy, from Tutorial High, chose to speak on VCT HIV and said test sites should be set up in all Regions.
Other competitors to follow were:
- Damella Chase, from President’s College (How HIV affects the Body);
- Neion Barry, from Christ Church Secondary ‘Should Teachers who are HIV positive be allowed to teach?);
- Bhanu Roop, from Diamond Secondary (Should people living with HIV be made to live separately from us?);
- Francine Carol, from St. Joseph High (What is the significance of World AIDS Day?);
- Erwin Miller and Mickel Mohan, from West Demerara Secondary (How Social pressure affects persons living with HIV/AIDS);
- Faith Stewart, from Patentia Secondary (How is HIV spread?);
- Kevin Mohan, from St. Stanislaus College (Should HIV positive persons be allowed to access public education);
- Ganesh Ram, from Cummings Lodge Secondary (How is HIV not transmitted?);
- Marissa Christiani, from Zeeburg Secondary (Should parents and teachers of children who test positive for HIV be notified?) and
- Mohani Balkharan, from Annandale Secondary (Should schoolchildren have the right to access condoms?)
After 45 minutes of informative and eloquent deliveries, the judges, Kanhai, University of Guyana (UG) lecturers, Ms. Julia Shadood and Ms. Bonita Hunter (Chief Judge) announced their judgement.
They gave third place to Christiani, second to Barry and first to Mohan.
Hunter applauded all those who participated for their earnest efforts and encouraged them to feel a sense of accomplishment.
“You need to act as ambassadors and take the message of HIV awareness and education to your peers,” she charged them, adding: “I hope that persons in this room will make better decisions now that they are more informed.”
Prizes included trophies, gift vouchers, certificates and hampers, as well as a notebook computer, for Mohan the top prize winner.
GRCS mounted a display for persons in attendance to get a preview of some of the work done in its various departments.