Three Rotary Clubs join for Voice of the West 2021

Covenant Adegbami
Leanne Miralda
Melbourne McLaren

The Benque Viejo, San Ignacio, and Belmopan Rotary Clubs teamed up on Thursday to nationally and internationally showcase the 19th Voice of the West. The event was viewable on Facebook, Instagram, and The National Channel.
Some 23 students participated this year in three categories. The first-place winner in the Original Poem category was Leanne Miralda, from the Belmopan Baptist High School. First place in the Published Poem and Excerpt category also went to Melbourne McLaren from the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School. Then came the Persuasive Speech category, and coming in the first place there was Covenant Adegbami from the Grace Christian Academy. All first-place winners won $300.00 and a trophy for their school.
The main message from Covenant Adegbami from her persuasive speech was that having vengeance eventually does not pay off. Her research shows that while vengeance initially results in increased neural activity, everything spirals downwards thereafter. Adegbami posits that rather than having vengeance those energies should be invested towards personal goals “…in massive success.”
At the beginning of the presentations Orlando Burns, the Governor of Rotary District 4250, which encompasses some 70 clubs from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras said that the Voice of the West was designed for Cayo’s High School students to develop their writing and public speaking skills.
The judges for the competition were Isaura Williams, a retired education officer, Dr. Filberto Penados, a university professor, and Kirm Thimbrel who holds a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering.
The Voice of the West had its origins from activities leading up to the September 10th celebrations. As a founding member of the Rotary Club of San Ignacio, Abdala Bedran was the driving force for bringing back the Voice of the West contest for the local high schools through the Rotary Club of San Ignacio.
Voice of the West 2021 was sponsored by the Belize Electric Company Limited BECOL, a Fortis Company. Technical assistance for Voice of the West was provided by Carlos Waight, a former Rotarian from TNC.