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SVP Ozanam school competition winners
story and photo by Chrys Hackshaw of Catholic News
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Last September the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) launched its inaugural Frederick Ozanam National School Competition. The Public Relations Committee of the Society hoped this would bring awareness of the Society's origins, and encourage students to assist the poor.

The competition was open to all Catholic and Government primary and secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago . Questions were selected from an "Ozanam booklet" and, following a grand draw from all correct entries received, competitors were chosen to represent their schools.

Teams comprised two students from each school who competed in a mid-morning quiz last Saturday, February 4 at Providence Girls' Catholic School , Belmont.

Gerard Lampow was Master of Ceremonies listing the rules of the competition and quizzing the competing students. A team of judges comprising Chief Judge Isodora Mitchell, Leah Gordon and Mikhail Woodruffe were at the ready and were called upon several times to decide whether they would award points for a determined try at the answers.

Two preliminary rounds of the competition determined which two schools would go head-to-head in the semi-final round. In the first preliminary Chaguanas Junior Secondary School , comprising Sudesh Baliram and Rhea Mohammed, faced off with Five Rivers Junior Secondary School 's Kurvelle Gonzales and Rachel Jacob.

From the outset Chaguanas Junior Secondary quickly gained the lead ending the round with 40 points. Despite their best attempts to catch up, Five Rivers Junior Secondary earned only 20 points.

The second preliminary saw Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive's Dana Alexander and Adrian Carvalho competing with Sixth Form Government School 's Shivonne Morris and Remi Onayiga. Sixth Form Government School rose to the occasion and ended the round with 65 points while Mucurapo moved off stage with just 10 points.

Having secured the higher scores in the preliminaries, Chaguanas Junior Secondary faced off with Sixth Form Government School. Sixth Form Government was more than ample opposition for Chaguanas beating them out with 55 points to become the Overall School Champions.

The competition did not end here, however, since this meant that the two reigning school champions would go one-on-one against each other. Success was with Remi Onayiga all through the round as she quickly fired answers to the questions put to her.

Winners of the SVP Ozanam competition at Providence Girls' Catholic School.

And although Shivonne Morris tried to gain the edge, she was unable to find equal footing with her opponent who won this final phase of the competition with a grand 70 point total making her the overall school champion for this year.

When asked what inspired her to participate in the competition, she listed the names of several teachers and friends and also said Shivonne was a large inspiration since she encouraged her to get involved.

The break before the prize-giving function allowed supporters and members of the audience to view several pieces of artwork entered in the art competition that had been targeted to primary school students. Judges Andy Jacob, Anthony Butts and Gregory Williams appraised their artwork to determine which pieces most closely reflected the life of Frederick Ozanam.

Many posters were brightly coloured and reflected the children's interpretation of Frederick Ozanam's life story and his work with the poor. There were even a few black and white comic-strip style posters in the mix.

First place winners Andrew Pereira of Barataria Boys' RC, Geneve Mahadeo and Chelsie Redon of Maria Regina Grade School and Jonathan Ramkissoon of St Xavier's Private School all came away with prizes in the form of storybooks, art supplies and discmans.

Second prize awards went to Chelsea Lee Kong of Maria Regina and Ariel Williams of St Xavier's who won storybooks, art supplies and book vouchers. Scott Rochard of Maria Regina, Hannah Chin Chuck and Ricardo Nelson of St Xavier's came away with the third prize of a storybook and art supplies each.

Whereas the primary school students had to be persuaded on stage, the secondary school students were excited to receive their prizes. The eight preliminary participants each walked away with Unit Trust Vouchers valued at $200 while the four semi-finalists received four book vouchers worth $200.

The two finalists, Shivonne Morris and Remi Onayiga won trips for two to Tobago and the overall school champion, Remi Onayiga, also won a DVD player and Challenge Trophy.

The winning primary and secondary school also received an SVP clock and each participant in the competition received certificates of participation and commemorative items.

The St Vincent de Paul Society wishes to thank representatives from the Ministries of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs, and Community and Social Development, Sr Mary Jean of Providence Girls' Catholic School , Gerard Lampow, Catholic Communications Studio (CCS), their sponsors and all those who assisted in making the competition successful.

The competition can be viewed on TV6 at 6.30 a.m. and on TCN (EWTN, channel 10) at 2.30 p.m. today - Feb 12
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The Society of St Vincent de Paul, Trinidad & Tobago,. Optimised for MSIE4+.
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