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BEL Holds Essay Writing Competition for Secondary and Primary Schools

The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is celebrating its annual Safety and Health Week with an essay competition for primary and secondary schools. The company has been dedicating a week in September for the past twenty years as a part of its commitment to promoting a safe and healthy work environment for its employees and the public. This year’s week will be celebrated under the theme “Embracing the New Normal and the Future. Working Together, Focused and Safe. Zane Fitzpatrick, the company’s safety specialist, spoke about how the winners for the primary school competition were chosen and how the pandemic affected this year’s celebrations.

Zane Fitzpatrick, Safety Specialist, BEL: “Before the pandemic what we used to do at the end of the week we used to engage the primary school students by inviting them to an open day fair held at the corporate headquarters. Since the onset of the pandemic last year we had to switch it up a bit and we wanted to keep the primary school students engaged and so we came up with this competition where we invited students of the upper division, standards 4,5 and 6, to submit an essay based on our theme. This year’s theme being “Embracing the new normal and future, working together, focused and safe.” We invited the Primary School students to submit an essay with certain guidelines and they were to submit this essay via email to the company. Once we had received the essays upon the deadline we would then we have to do the scoring and the evaluation to determine who the winners are. We did this by means of an evaluation committee where we first had to – it’s through a short listing process. So when we received the final essay we would go through it, ensure that the guidelines were met. We would then move it to the second part of the evaluation where the committee, members of the safety department and different various departments throughout BEL would then be divided into a subcommittee. So the subcommittee would then evaluate standard 4, we had another sub committee to evaluate the essays submitted for standard 5 and the same for standard 6. Upon their shortlisting we would then submit the shortlisted name to the entire committee where we would do the same evaluation process by means of the rubric system where we were looking for certain criteria, the alignment of the essay to the theme, creativity, imagination just to name a few. As mentioned we selected three winners unlike last year where there was only one. I say that to say this year we have first, second and third prize for standard 4. First, second and third for 5 and so forth. So let me just quickly list what are the prizes or the first place winner got a $1,000, the second place winner got $750, third $500 and then the school of the first place winner for each grade also received a cash price of $3,000.”

While the winners for the primary competition have been chosen, the secondary school section is still open for submissions. Senior Corporate Communications Officer at BEL, Sheena Garnett spoke about how high school writers can also get in on the action.

Sheena Garnett, Senior Corporate Communications Officer, BEL: “This is our first high school competition that the company is undertaking. With the success of the primary school safety essay competition we decided to have an essay competition that would be geared toward high school students. However one that would remain in line with our mission and our commitment to continuously seek innovative solutions to modernize the energy services landscape in Belize. Our mission speaks to we deliver safe reliable and sustainable energy solutions to enhance the quality of life and productivity of enterprise and to support national development. So it is that in mind that these high school students are being brought into the discussion to provide more of a consumer insight at their respective levels hence the reason for the theme of the high school essay competition “My vision for the future of energy in Belize.” So we are hoping to receive some creative concepts around this theme. We launched the high school essay competition on August 31st. We sent out the calls to all high school students countrywide in first, second, third and fourth formers encouraging them to participate in the competition and submit essays on the theme. The competition is supposed to end on Thursday September 30th which is next week Thursday.”

The week, which begins on Monday, September twenty-seven, will see the electricity provider host virtual events geared at educating children on the importance of safety.