Recently, the 2nd annual FirstCare Medical Plan Autism Awareness Essay Contest awarded its top winners at an awards ceremony at the British Colonial Hotel. Three Queen’s College students claimed the top prizes of the competition. 1st place in the competition was Raphieal Newbold, followed by 1st runner up, Ari Brathwaite and 2nd runner up Janea Munroe. The competition was organized by FirstCare Medical Plan in partnership with REACH Bahamas and the Ministry of Education. The winners received more that $1,000 in prizes from Corporate sponsors The Shoe Village and Custom Computers. Speakers at the ceremony were Corinna Neely, president of FirstCare Medical Plan, Mario Carey, President of REACH Bahamas and Deputy Director of Education, Marcellus Taylor. Carey, who was accompanied by his son, Cole Carey highlighted the importance of the recently passed Disabilities Act and the progress that REACH Bahamas is making in the community. He mentioned that the Act give our population of special needs citizens a lot of rights and equal opportunity. Neely, mentioned that there were 65 entries from throughout the Bahamas and Family Islands, she also noted that “Knowing that students are researching the disorder , learning more about how it affects others and linking that knowledge to personal interactions with those affected by autism can only help on fostering inclusion in the community”. Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education, Marcellus Taylor explained how his ministry plans to include and assist those with special needs into their programs. He highlighted that almost 3,000 teachers and parents have been trained in inclusive education strategies. Overall the event highlighted the initiatives that are in motion to assist those with special needs and abilities inside of The Bahamas.
Photos from the event can be seen below.