U.S. Embassy Officer Visits Moore’s Island to Recognize Winner


Moore’s Island All Age School’s English teacher, Principal, Dinnea Cooper, contest winner Devin Major and her proud mother, Monalisa Major.

The 2012 Dr. King Civil Rights Essay Contest

On March 27, the faculty and students of Moore’s Island All Age School formally celebrated the accomplishment of 10th grader Devin Major, the Abaco winner of the U.S. Embassy’s 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Essay Contest.  On hand to celebrate the achievement was the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer Erica Thibault who noted that of the more than 120 essays submitted from students throughout The Bahamas, Devin’s essay was one of four submissions that were selected for eloquently illustrating the power of a non-violent approach in advocating for justice and equality during the civil rights era.

In front of the 150 member student body, Principal Dinnea Cooper and Mrs. Thibault presented Devin with this year’s grand prize, an Apple iPad 2 as part of the school’s weekly assembly.  Devin then read her essay, which focused on the contributions made by activists Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Jesse Jackson. She also shared through her essay how she would take an active stance in her community to promote peace by encouraging her fellow students to resist negative peer pressure.

“Many high school teens celebrate with their classmates when they do wrong.   I know these students are behaving in this way because they are simply bored and have not found their calling in life. I believe that, if our school had enough after school programs, more children would begin to use their time and youth for good,” Devin said in front of her peers.

In support of President Obama’s hemisphere-wide 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative, Mrs. Thibault also spoke to several classes to encourage students to study hard and consider college opportunities in the U.S.  The goal of the Presidential initiative is to ensure that students in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America are prepared for the global workforce through increased understanding and greater collaboration between universities and educational institutions in the region.

Mrs. Thibault noted that one of the highlights of the trip was an opportunity to meet Moore’s Island renowned youth track stars that are making their mark in both national and international athletics thanks to the support of the community including their volunteer coach.  A few of Moore’s Island track students have gone onto college in the U.S. on athletic scholarships but many more students could do so with increased exposure and intensive academic preparation at an early age.

Throughout her visit to the school, Mrs. Thibault met students who have been recognized locally and nationally for their academic achievement demonstrating the impact that dedicated teachers can have on a community.  In an effort to encourage all of the students of Moore’s Island All Age to continue to strive for academic success, the U.S. Embassy made a commitment to donate a library worth of books to Moore’s Island School that will arrive in the coming weeks.