Courtney Greaves, Recently Named Head Girl of Jessie Ripoll Primary School, Makes History

Courtney Greaves

Courtney Greaves, 11, a student at Jessie Ripoll Primary School in Kingston, Jamaica, has made history by becoming the youngest individual to win the Global Poetry Foundation Competition and the first to win seven awards in a single year.

Greaves, who was recently named Head Girl at her school, submitted her competition entries in both written and video presentations as she was not able to attend the in-person finals in Amsterdam in The Netherlands. She was surprised by news of her wins on February 6, 2023, at school. Carl Little, a representative of the Global Poetry Foundation, presented her with her trophies. She was the winner of the following prizes: Overall Poet Champion, Best Environmental Poem, Most Outstanding Poet, Best Short Poem, Most Consistent Poet, Best Category Award, and the Open Category Champion. With Greaves’ wins, her school automatically won the Most Outstanding Institution award for 2023. Upon learning of her prizes, Greaves said she was “elated” to be representing her country as the youngest finalist and winner of the poetry competition.

This is Jamaica Announces the Peter Gracey This is Jamaica Poetry Scholarship 2022 - Courtney Greaves was the 2021 winner

Greaves’ mother, Tanya Lowden, was overwhelmed by the announcement of her daughter’s achievements. Lowden heard the announcements from her wheelchair, having been diagnosed with spinal cancer in 2022. She said she was proud of Courtney and prayed that God would continue to bless her. Lowden added that Courtney had shown her leadership skills since she was six at St. Joseph’s Infant School. She inspired her mother and friends to host a candlelight vigil in Half-Way Tree for a friend who died and other children who had passed.

Courtney Greaves was the 2021 This Is Jamaica Poetry Scholarship Winner.

Courtney, who only learned about the Global Poetry Foundation Competition a year ago, entered 15 pieces, inspired by one of her mentors who encouraged her to submit her work because of her love for poetry. The 11-year-old has won other awards in competitions sponsored by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission with poetry entries. Her love of poetry began when she was six years old and she became fascinated by the works of iconic Jamaican folklorist Louise Bennett-Coverley. She said her writing is inspired by current events in Jamaica and things she has heard from her friends and family.

Courtney is preparing to take her final set of Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations and is hoping to get a place at Campion College in September. She plans to become a pediatrician because she said she loves children and wants to help people who are ill.

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Stephanie Korney