Painting a picture with words

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The fifth year of an annual story competition initiated by the Samoa Observer for primary, secondary and tertiary students is again underway.

This year, the theme of the competition is ‘My World’ and the major sponsors are Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B.) and Eveni with some special awards being donated by Bluesky.

In keeping with previous competitions, the organizers and sponsors have developed and expanded the competition further by running a parallel competition with the same theme in neighbouring American Samoa.

Launched last week, the competition in the territory has been received enthusiastically by students and teachers, said the Samoa Observer’s Newspapers Education Coordinator, Marj Moore.

“They have never had a competition where their students have had the option to write in Samoan or in English and where all students are encouraged to take part, not just a chosen few,” said Moore.

She said the competition simply reflects the aims of the initiative which grew out the Samoa Observer’s Education pages.

“The first aim is, we want all children to practice and improve their writing skills and two, we want to find the best writers amongst the students.”

“We already know from previous years that everyone has a story to tell, so we also award prizes to the schools which put in the most entries in either language.”

Moore said another point of difference with their competition is that they try to work closely with their sponsors to ensure that everyone benefits from the opportunity. “Our partnership with Fiti Leung Wai and S.S.A.B. has been long-standing; over five years. This literacy project is just one of many that they sponsor which showcases their educational resources and products as well as one of their major interests in community development.”

“This year, we are also delighted that Eveni has elected to be our other major partner. We have admired the way they have built their brand and their company has a strong student and youth focus through their sales of school uniforms, and sports gear and casual wear.

“And they have always directed much of their sponsorship into those areas,” said Moore.

Both of these companies are also sponsoring the competition in American Samoa.

Adding additional impact through special prizes for the top winners and schools is the telecommunication company, Bluesky.

 “This means that first place getters in each level and schools with the most entries will go away with extra prizes,” said Moore.

With this year’s theme, ‘My World’, Moore said the organizers want all the students to write vividly about their world as it is, or if they prefer; their world as they would like it to be.”

“We want the words in their stories to paint us a picture so we’re looking for great descriptions.”

And while the students’ competition was not held in 2015 due to the scheduling of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, the Samoa Observer and the sponsors are confident the interest in sharing their stories is still there in the schools. 

“From this year on, the competition will continue to be held in the first half of the year.

“It means there are no clashes with important exams that come up towards the end of the year.” 

So with seven weeks to think, plan and write before the deadline for entries at 4pm on Monday 18 April, the organizers are encouraging schools to allow students  to write as part of their story or essay writing in the classroom, or to write from home.  

“This particular theme is one which allows the students to either write realistically about their own personal worlds or to dream and write about a better world,” said Moore.

“We’re excited and are looking forward to reading the stories.”  

Information and entry forms are available from S.S.A.B. megastore, SSAB Savaii, or Eveni on Beach Road as well as the Samoa Observer in Apia and at Vaitele.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Marj Moore, 7516766 or emailing marjandebs@gmail.com

© Samoa Observer 2016

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