Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Poster Competition Winners

 I am so proud of my students.  During the last term I had the students at my local high school participate in a nation-wide art competition.  The competition was hosted by the US Embassy and PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).  The students were asked to draw posters with a theme "Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation."  The long awaited results finally came in and to my surprise, two my students were selected as the top two posters in the entire country!  There were thrree age groups, and the top three from each age group were invited to the award ceremony.   My students competed in the oldest age group (16-20).  Both boys are currently in Form 2, which is equivalent to 9th grade.

From the left- Siboniso (1st Place), Mrs. Msibi (English Teacher), Mfundo (2nd Place), Me

The awards ceremony was an exciting event for all included.  I traveled with my two students to Manzini where we met with their English teacher.  The boys were excited because not only were they allowed to miss a day of school, they were also about to visit the capitol city for their first time, visit the new mall complete with escalators, meet the US Ambassador, and have a nice lunch.  It was also a day of firsts for me too, as it was the first time I was able to visit the US Embassy in Swaziland.

All the winners, PCVs, US Ambassador (in the back with an orange shirt), PC Director (far left)
 The students were all presented with a prize of school bags with school supplies.  The following day after the award ceremony, I brought the prizes with me to the school and presented them to the boys in front of the whole school and their head teacher.  They had their picture and an article in the newspaper and their names were announced in the evening radio broadcast.

This was a fantastic accomplishment for this school.  They have come so far considering that last year they were learning under a tree, sitting in the grass with a broken chalkboard leaning against the tree, and fig fruits falling on their heads during lessons.  The students and teachers alike were proud of the two winners for overcoming obstacles and having put their new school on the map!