12-Year-Old Clarendon Girl Wins Essay Competition In U.S.A

Osborne Store Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon is still in celebration mode after head girl, Jordeena Dryden, emerged the winner of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Foundation (FCCA) essay competition.

When The Gleaner visited the school’s campus, an enthused principal, Avalyn Henry, described the avid writer as an industrious, hard-working and disciplined student. “She’s a rounded child, very much involved and very intelligent. When she was being interviewed for the head girl, persons were blown away at how she answered the questions.”

The FCCA is a non-profit trade organisation with 21 cruise lines operating in Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. Each year, the FCCA host a children’s essay competition incorporating two categories – junior category for children 12 and under and a senior category for ages 13-16. Twelve-year-old Jordeena copped first place on the island in the junior category and ranked third internationally.

Henry lauded Dryden’s mother as a supportive parent, adding, “Osborne Store is not a very affluent community and what we find is that children do well with strong parental support.” She added that the school’s curriculum caters to the holistic development of children, thereby engaging students in many extra-curricular activities. Speaking of her star student, she said, “Jordeena represented us well. As a principal, serving for such a short time, I feel good to know we have a student that took us on top and to be connected with such a student, I am very proud,’’ said Henry, who has been serving in the capacity of principal since May 2018.

Jordeena, who wrote on the topic, ‘Many cruise passengers use cruising as a way to sample different destinations,’ told The Gleaner, “I feel very proud knowing that I have achieved a part of my goal. I am at a loss for words expressing how I feel to be the winner. I am very happy and thankful to God.”


Jordeena, who expressed her love for writing, noted despondence going into the competition, citing concerns with preparations for external examinations.

“Knowing I had PEP (Primary Exit Profile) exams, I was worried and depressed because the essay was 500 words. I didn’t know where to start. I want to thank my mommy for supporting me. If it wasn’t for her, I would have failed.”

Noting that research assisted her in writing the essay, she added, “I also said, ‘If I were a tourist, how could someone attract me to a country?’ ”

Kadeejo Reid, Jordeena’s mother, said, “I am overwhelmed with joy and I am really proud of her. She’s a very hard worker. I tell her that only her best is good enough and when she stops trying, that’s where she fails. In everything she’s doing, I tell her don’t leave out her Creator because He’s the one who makes everything possible. I try to teach her discipline because without discipline, everything else is weak.” Reid also lauded Dryden’s father, Jason Dryden, whom she described as an active and supportive parent.

“He plays an integral role in her life also, and we thank God for him every day because not a lot of fathers stand up for the children.” Jordeena shared with The Gleaner that she has high hopes of attending Glenmuir High in the parish in the coming school year. “If she carries this same discipline into high school, she will go very far,” added the principal.

Plans are underway for the official renaming of the Osborne Store Primary and Junior High School as the institution has been catering to solely primary and infant students since 2017.

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