Liberia: Soltiamon Retains Press Club Exhibition, Electoral Reform Championship

Soltiamon School retained their title

Monrovia – The hall of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) on Crown Hill was the place to be over the weekend where several high schools had gathered to compete in the 2nd Edition of the National Press Club Exhibition and Electoral Reform Debate.

The program, in celebration of International Day of the African Child is annually organized by a media development organization, Youth Media Action, to provide the platform for students desiring to become journalists to showcase their media talents.

This year’s event, sponsored by Internews Liberia, also provided additional opportunity for students in the high schools to debate issues surrounding electoral reform.

Some of the key points highlighted under the Electoral Reform Debate included ‘Changing of the Voting Date from Rainy Season to Dry Season, Reducing Tenures of Elected Government Officials, Establishing a Separate Court to Handle Elections Complaints Instead of the National Elections Commission and Reducing the Voters’ Age from 18 to 16 Years.’

The debate teams codenamed ‘Team Change’ was arguing for a reform in the elections laws of Liberia while ‘Team Continuity’ was defending that the elections laws should remained.

The Electoral Reform Debate, which attracted public attention, provided cogent information on both arguments as part of Youth Media Action’s ongoing campaigns with support from Internews Liberia for Electoral Reform in Liberia.

As for Press Club Exhibition, Soltiamon Christian School System on the Old Road after a tension packed news presentation competition won as champion of this year’s competition.

The weekend victory marks Soltiamon’s 2nd championship in succession as the school walked away with a brand Camon 11 Smartphone as prize while Kingdom of Hope Elementary and Junior High School won 20 dollars scratch cards as 2nd place winner.

For individual and institution’s award, Mrs. Cynthia Vambram won as the Most Supportive Parent of Youth Media Action programs while Calvary Baptist Church School System won as the most supportive institution for their role in supporting the school’s press club.

Announcing the winner, Melody Mezay-Kettor, who served on the panel of judges, revealed that the judges were grading on the basis of presentation style (10 points), presentation format (10 points), articulation (10 points), pronunciation (15 points), grammar (15 points), posture (5 points), news script (10 points), coordination (10 points), tone (10 points) and dress code (5 points).

Mezay-Kettor added that following a tense challenge, Soltiamon Christian School System on the Old Road secured 359 points to become the champion of this year’s National Press Club Exhibition and Electoral Reform Debate while Kingdom of Hope Elementary and Junior High School got 328 points as 2nd place winner; Paynesville Seventh Day Adventist High School booked 327 points as the 3rd place winner.

In other results, William V.S. Tubman got 297 points, Len Miller – 317 points, Calvary Baptist Church School System – 318 points, Assembly of God Mission School – 260 points, Bethesda Christian Mission School – 272 points, Africa Islamic Center School on Somalia Drive – 245 points to climax the 2nd edition of the National Press Club Exhibition and Electoral Reform Debate.

Presenting the awards, the Country Director of Internews-Liberia, Jan McArthur termed the debate as welcoming and will go a long way in informing young people on the ongoing Electoral Reform campaign.

Madam McArthur emphasized that the active participation of Liberian youth in such initiative is very critical noting that they occupied majority of the country’s population.

She challenged the winner and other participants to use the three smartphones provided to promote Electoral Reform activities on their campuses and publish their high school stories.

Also speaking, the Co-chairman of the National Elections Commission, Madam Sarah Toe, expressed delight over the manner in which both sides provided factual information in their arguments on Electoral Reform.

Madam Toe asserted that the debate is vital to the ongoing campaign as it provides a level plane field for people to decide which side is best for the country.

For his part, the Executive Director of Youth Media Action, Varmah Kamara congratulated the winner of the National Press Club Exhibition and Electoral Reform Debate.

Mr. Kamara also used the occasion to commend Internews-Liberia for the support which he believes has helped the organization to intensify the Electoral Reform campaigns in various schools across Monrovia and its environs. He noted that despite the challenges, Youth Media Acton will remain engaged with its grassroots programs to ensure a strong democratic space and a vibrant media.