Black History Month essay competition winners named
A trio of schoolgirls won a total of $1,750 after they topped an essay competition designed to highlight Black heroes of the legal system.
Razeeyah Robinson, 12, was awarded $1,000 by law firm Conyers after she took the top spot in its Black History Month Essay Competition.
McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, 17, got $500 for second place and Kaelyn Fleming, 15, took home $250 as an honourable mention.
Razeeyah, an M1 pupil from the Whitney Institute in Smiths, admitted that she was surprised when she found she had won.
She said: “Then I got happy and excited and a little bit nervous”.
She added: “I’m very excited and very thankful to be selected as the winner of the Black History Month Essay Competition. "
Middle and high school-aged pupils were asked to submit a 1,500-word essay about a Black hero or heroine who had contributed to the legal system.
The firm received eight submissions by last Friday’s deadline and the prizes were awarded on Monday.
Razeeyah said that she learnt about the competition from her English teacher at the start of February.
She added she signed up because she had a passion for learning about history and wrote her essay on Julian Hall, who represented two men indicted for the murder of Sir Richard Sharples and his aide-de-camp, Captain Hugh Sayers, in 1973.
Razeeyah said she learnt that she and Mr Hall were distant relatives and that she was impressed by how much he had accomplished.
She added: “He was a very influential person and he had contributed in many different ways to Bermuda’s legal system as a successful lawyer, Member of Parliament and he promoted justice in the legal system.
“He helped open door for many young Black aspiring lawyers and he also inspired many Black aspiring lawyers in joining a large law firm.”
McKenzie-Kohl, a Warwick Academy pupil, said that she entered because she wanted to study law and wrote about Dame Lois Browne-Evans because she was the first female barrister on the island.
McKenzie-Kohl added it was an “honour” to pay tribute to Dame Lois.
She added: “I was thrilled when I was told that I had placed in the competition.
“I am grateful to Conyers for providing students with this learning opportunity and for providing a platform for us to celebrate black excellence within Bermuda’s legal system.”
Kaelyn, a Berkeley Institute pupil, said she used the competition to write about her mother, Claudette Fleming and her work for seniors.
She added: “I felt like her diligence and hard work deserved to be recognised.
Kaelyn added: “When I found out that I had won honourable mention I was very exited and I knew that my mother would be very proud.
“Now I realise the ability that I have to become a great writer.”
Conyers’ Black History Month Essay Competition will become an annual competition.
Anthony Whaley, who helped organise the competition, said: “It was just a way of trying to ensure that we honoured Black History Month as a firm but also reach out the students and give them an opportunity to research heroes in the Bermuda legal context.”