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10 Students Receive US Embassy Award

Jun 2, 2008, 5:10 AM | Article By: By Baboucarr Senghore

The United States Embassy in Banjul on Thursday gave awards to 10 students who took part in this year's U.S. National African-American History month essay competition.

Organised by the United States Embassy, the competition for Senior Secondary School students in The Gambia is in observance of the U.S National African-American History month.

The objective of the competition was to encourage secondary school students and their respective schools to read and write about African-American history and particularly focus on how that history relates to the history of The Gambia.

Out of a total number of 85 essays received by a team of professionals from the Banjul American Embassy School (BAES), 10 finalists with the best essays, of whom six came from the Western Region, were selected and given awards.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Barry Wells, United States Ambassador to The Gambia, said the United States Embassy celebrates Black History Month each February.

That period of the year, according to Ambassador Wells, provides an opportunity to acknowledge the historical, political, cultural and economic contributions of African origin throughout the world.

"The story of Black History Month begins with Historian Carter G. Woodson's passion about black history evolved in the most unlikely of places. While working at a coal mine, the daily conservation of the black civil war veterans often focused on interesting historical facts not recorded in history books," he noted.

Ambassador Wells used the occasion to commend students and the Director of Region II, Mrs. Matty Bouye, for their successful efforts this year.

For her part, Mrs Isatou Nyang, Director of Curriculum Department at the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education, reiterated her department's gratitude to associate itself with the American Embassy for a cordial and fruitful partnership in the area of education. "You will all agree with me that education is the key to empowerment, and since that is the case, the American Embassy has been, and is still, very crucial in this very important commodity in the area of education," Mrs. Nyang stated.

She commended the American Embassy for the tremendous support to the education sector while expressing her department's willingness to partner with the Embassy to further this venture to higher heights.

Mrs Nyang however advised the awardees not to be reluctant, but rather to make best use of every opportunity that comes their way.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Ms Dianne Zemichael from the Banjul American Embassy School who gave an overview of the competition process.