UVI senior Leslyn Tonge was recently awarded the top prize in the University's Edward Wilmot Blyden Essay contest, held as part of the annual Alfred O. Heath Lecture Series and the 50th Golden Jubilee Celebration. Other winners in the contest were graduate student Amad Martin and junior Tasha Cornielle. The contest - open to UVI students – was conducted in conjunction with a symposium on the life and accomplishments of St. Thomas native Edward Wilmot Blyden. The symposium served as this year's Heath Lecture in March.
Tonge who is majoring in communications was awarded $300. Martin, who studied physics, and Cornielle, who is a biology major, each received $50 prizes as co-runners up. Student participants each attended the Blyden symposium and composed essays discussing Blyden’s contributions to Pan-Africanism, his impact on the Virgin Islands and V.I. leaders who were inspired by Blyden.
The essay contest was sponsored by the Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Initiative and the Black Heritage Committee of UVI’s Student Government Association. Attending the presentation, held May 31, on UVI's St. Thomas campus, were Dr. Chenzira D. Kahina – Managing Director of Per Ankh, Inc., Victoria Bennett – the aunt of winner Amad Martin, Ayesha Morris – interim executive director of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa – board chair of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council and DaraMonifa Cooper – founder of Sankofa Saturdays.