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Jan 5, 2000

High school student wins essay contest

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In October of 1999, the staff of the Belize Insurance Centre Limited visited high schools to talk about the concept of insurance to students. Following the series of discussions, the young people were invited to participate in an essay competition. The students had to write in no less than five hundred words, about the importance of insurance in Belize. Today, fifteen-year-old Shalane Westby of Belmopan Comprehensive School was awarded one thousand dollars after coming in first in the competition. Westby, who plans to put her money in the bank, says she did not expect to win but is grateful, as she plans to use the cash to go to college. The third form student says it took her about a week to complete the winning entry.

Shalane Westby, Essay Winner

“It’s about the importance of insurance in Belize. It gives the meaning of insurance and how it operates in accordance with Belize. Talking about in cases of fire, how the houses are so compact and the fire would spread easily and so it is important that people be insured here in Belize.”

Q: “What kind of research did you do?”

Shalane Westby

“I researched mainly about what is insurance and then I just put it together with Belize.”

Q: “Were you surprised when you found out that your essay had won?”

Shalane Westby

“Yes, I was very surprise because I did not expect to win.”

Cynthia Awe, Manager, Belize Insurance Centre Ltd.

“We thought it was well researched being a third former and a topic that not many people are aware of. We thought it was very well put together. In fact from four of us, all four of us concluded that she was the person to get the first prize.”

Q: “What were you all looking for?”

Cynthia Awe

“Basically we wanted the essence of insurance; we didn’t want the wrong information to get across to the public. On a whole, insurance is perceived by the public to be something that is not a tangible product so when you go and buy an insurance policy all you get is a piece of paper. So you need to put forward the positive things when selling insurance and we thought that Shalane really gave those points and really enhanced what we wanted to come up as part of the essay.”

Westby’s school also received a fax machine. Meanwhile, five hundred dollars was given to Kimberly Kelly of Pallotti High School after her essay came in second and Yannick Wade of Ladyville Technical High School picked up his check of two hundred and fifty dollars for coming in third. But it was not only high school students who were winners of the day. The National Organization for the Prevention of Child Abuse, NOPCA, received over ten thousand dollars. The money was collected during a Child Abuse Prevention Walkathon held by the insurance company in December.

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