On Monday 17th July, 18 young essayists from Secondary Schools across the country’s gathered in the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre to enjoy the excitement of the Prizegiving. Parents and several teachers also came to participate in the event.
The project, which had been presented by the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius (AeSM) in January to the Ministry of Education’s Director for Extra-curricular Activities Mr Kelvyn Ng Wong Hing, was introduced to the schools through the good offices of the four Zone Directors and the Private Secondary Education Authority (PSEA) and – to the delight of the Society – resulted in a snowstorm of essays, over 80 in all!
The Competition addressed two aviation-related Essay titles: ” My Interest in Aviation” ,for those students in Grades 7-10; and “Aviation in 30 Years Time” for the seniors from Grades 11-12. The rules set a limit of 500 words in each case, and – of course- the language had to be English, the International Language of Aviation. The objectives of this contest, as spelled out by Professor Serge Riviere the Chairman of the Essay Jury, were:
(1) To open the minds of girls and boys to the opportunities of a life in Aviation/Aeronautics, a modern STEM subject;
(2) To assist Educators to identify those students who wish to progress in aviation and choose the best combination of subjects to achieve this goal; and
(3) To improve the quality of written English, the International language of aviation.
When the competition entries – over 80 of them! – had been received there was plenty of work for the Essay Jury, which was composed of Prof Riviere, Dr Amrita Kundomal and Captain Dick Twomey the President of aeronautical society. As a result 18 best essays were selected for the short-list, and it as the enthusiastic writers of these essays, with their parents and teachers, who were invited to the Prizegiving Ceremony. 12 Secondary Schools reached the finals, having successfully supported the 18 finalists which included the 6 winners and Runners up.
Address of Capt. Dick Twomey, AeSM President on the AeSM/MoE Aviation Essay Prizegiving – 17 July 2017
Intro: Director Kelvyn Ng Wong Hing, here as Acting Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research; respected Parents and Teachers; and all you enterprising Essay-writers, I bid you WELCOME on behalf of the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius (AeSM) and for the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, whose Director Dr Aman Maulloo has kindly given us the use of this wonderful Auditorium for today’s Aviation Essay Prizegiving Ceremony.
My name is Richard Twomey , and I am honoured to be your host as the President of our Aeronautical Society. By training and practice I am an airline pilot, who made his first “Solo” flight at the age of 19 and has continued to fly until the age of 84, which is three years ago. I came here to work for Air Mauritius Flight Operations in 1991 and I have been here ever since! I have a Mauritian wife and Mauritian children (about the same age as some of you), and… Nou coze Kreol tou les zour lacaz!
The Aeronautical Society itself was formed in 2013 and currently has some 50 members and six corporate partners, including Air Mauritius and the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre among others. We are dedicated to supporting Aviation/Aeronautics including Astronautics, and in Mauritius to improving awareness of these very “IN” sciences. Motivated by the enthusiasm for the Air which we have noted from recent school competitions, we are about to launch a new section of the Society this month. It is called “Junior Aviators” and AeSM Secretary Mr Anand Kinnoo has already received over 20 applications to join. We have a thriving website (please note) at https://aesm.mu.
Enough of that! My job today is to tell you how it is that we have come together today, and then to explain the order of events, since you may not have seen a copy of our agenda.. I start by congratulating all you who are here as the Finalists in this (English language) Aviation Essay Competition. It has been a long road which started back in January when Director Ng gave his support to our proposal to run this contest, giving me the Green Light to contact the schools. This was accomplished thanks to the help of the Education Zone Directors and the Private Secondary Education Authority (PSEA). Then with the support of your schools you all got to work in Grades 7-10, and in Grades 11-12, that is to say in two separate sections with separate prizes to be won. By the deadline date you had produced OVER 80 ESSAYS. As Finalists today you can see how well you have already done!
In a minute I shall ask our sponsoring Ministry of Education Director Mr Kelvyn Ng to address us, after which we shall hear from Professor Serge Riviere, (a wise man who – unbelievably – has written 36 Books, let alone Essays!) Serge Riviere is Chairman of the Essay Jury, whose other members are Dr Amrita Kundomal and myself. Today’s Certificates and the Prizes have been donated by the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius, and will be presented by Director Ng Wong Hing. We also have certificates for all the finalists and for the 12 schools whose students have “made it” to the short list.
Finally you will be invited to take some light refreshments before heading for home.
Thank you for listening. We now kindly invite Director Kelvyn Ng Wong Hing to address us:
Address of Mr. K. Ng Wong Hing, Ag. Chief Technical Officer, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES, TERTIARY EDUCATION AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
Captain Richard Twomey, President of the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius
Professor Serge Riviere, Chairperson of the Jury,
Mr Sarupanand Kinnoo, Secretary of the AeSM
Members of the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius
Heads of school and Educators
Parents and students
It gives me much pleasure to represent this afternoon the Hon. Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research who presents her apologies for not being able to attend this afternoon AeSM Prize Giving Ceremony.
The Ministry of Education is fully supportive to the laudable initiatives of the AeSM in organising the 2nd edition of the model glider competition for secondary schools and the two essay competitions, one for Lower Secondary students on the topic “My interest in aviation”, and the other for Upper Secondary students on “Aviation in 30 years’ time in a Global Village”. We
wish to congratulate the AeSM for this choice of topics, especially for the second one, which gives students the opportunity to share their vision of what will be the world tomorrow when they will be the active adults.
I have not read any of the proposals from the competitors, may be Professor Rivière, the Chairperson of the jury will give us a glimpse in a few minutes of these, but I do hope that our students have taken on board the vision of the United Nations as spelled out in the Sustainable Development Goals targeting 2030. Any action, any project – especially in the field of technology – has to
be framed with these 17 SDGs in mind. The video on the Solar Impulse airplane which was shown earlier is a vivid example of technological development in harmony with the SDGs.
Goal No. 4 refers to Quality Education which is the mandate of the Ministry of Education. The organisation of activities by the AeSM or the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre gives our students the opportunity to understand that knowledge is not theoretical or bookish but embedded in reality, in life experience and practical applications.
As you are aware, the Ministry of Education has embarked since 2015 in a challenging reform of the first nine years of basic continuous education which aims at ensuring that tomorrow’s Mauritian citizens will be global citizens, having a vision for their country and for the world; citizens who competent in their respective field of expertise but also who are able to appreciate a
Beethoven’s symphony, a film of Milos Forman or a gouache of Malcolm de Chazal. All the endeavours of the reform in education – be it at primary or at secondary level – are to equip today’s youth with all the means of success.
It is not a hazard that today, the 17th of July the Mauritius Police Force is also celebrating the 27th year of existence of the Maritime Air Squadron. And you are aware that this year Air Mauritius is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is therefore an opportunity to wish the Maritime Air Squadron and to Air Mauritius a happy anniversary.
To the winners of the essay competitions, we say congratulations. And to all participants may I share this quotation from Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (28 Dec 1882 – 22 Nov 1944), English astronomer, physicist and mathematician.
He was referring to the Greek legend of Icarus who supposedly attempted to fly with wings glued with wax but who ended in a crash. This is beautifully represented in a painting by Joseph Blondel which is at the Louvres Museum.
This is what Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington said :
“Icarus soared upwards to the sun till the wax melted which bound his wings and his flight ended in fiasco. …. There is something to be said for Icarus. The classical authorities tell us that he was only “doing a stunt,” but I prefer to think of him as
the man who brought to light a serious constructional defect in the flying machines of his day.”
The “take-away” from this quotation is that we should always cultivate a positive attitude, whatever is the outcome of our actions. Your participation to this competition is in itself a reward.
May I conclude in wishing all students success and to always aim at accomplishing the best of their abilities in all their enterprises?
Thank you for your kind attention.
Address of Professor Serge Riviere as the Chairman of the Essay Jury on the AeSM/MoE Aviation Essay Prizegiving – 17 July 2017
Baron de Coubertin, speaking at the Olympic Games in the early 1900s saw that the main aim was to take part, not necessarily to win. So in this Essay competition, as in Athletics or Sport, the chief aim was to do one’s personal best, to improve this personal best and to challenge your creative mind and your linguistic skills.
Thus, everyone is a winner – you were able to reflect on aviation and its importance in our lives today and in 30 years time. You were also rising to the challenge of expressing your ideas, your vision and your interests in 500 words or less. Good writing reflects a few key principles: (a) accuracy; (b) brevity, (c) discipline and (d) emphasis on key elements.
We were impressed by your earnestness, your research and wide reading, your thoughtfulness and your mastery of structure; and in many cases by your English usage and familiarity with the latest aviation technologies. Interestingly most of you, when forecasting the future of aviation, majored on electric-powered flight and protection of the environment (Solar Impulse).
- Do the research;
- Acknowledge your sources and quote works or web pages consulted;
- Try to use your own words as far as possible;
- Be creative and do not be afraid to say what you think and what you feel without necessarily using “I think”.
- “To thine own self be true.” This is your creative work, reflecting your personality.
We congratulate all of you and sincerely hope that you will continue to participate in the competitions which we organize. Writing is hard work: 90% perspiration and 10% talent! So “practice makes perfect”, as in everything.
See you all next year in this hall. Congratulations to teachers and parents alike!
List of prizewinners:
Junior section (Grades 7-10)
|First||Ashna Jugessur||Nelson College|
|Second||Nirbaulsing Doolub||Hamilton College Boys|
|Third||Nahira Massood||Port Louis High School|
Senior section (Grades 11-12)
|First||Soordarshan Gajadhur||Sookdeo Bissoondoyal State College|
|Second||Zakiyyah Mamodebaccus||Loreto Collge Rose Hill|
|Third||Ajaya Nundlaul||Hamilton College Girls|
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each section received RS 3000, 2000 and 1000 respectively from the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius, plus Certificates .
Also to be congratulated are the other essayists who reached the Shortlist, out of over 80 entries!
|Ayush Sumarth||Royal College Curepipe|
|Alexandro Raboude||Hamilton College Boys|
|Reetik Jhurry||Hamilton College Boys|
|Roodrani Rajputtee||Loreto College Rose Hill|
|Krishna Dewkurun||Nelson College|
|Ridhwaan Bundhun||St Mary’s College Rose Hill|
|Toshan Gooljar||Royal College Curepipe|
|Azghar Emambee||Alpha College|
|Adriana Pouille||Queen Elizabeth College|
|Abdool Anas||Royal College Port Louis|
|Tejas Boolauky||Royal College Port Louis|
|Bhovisha Sujore||Sodnac SSS|
Each finalist received a Certificate for their gallant participation in the English-language Aviation Essay Competition. Well done everyone!