December 1, 2016:    Two students from Monrovia’s Seventh-day Adventist Revelation High School were awarded the top prizes at Liberia’s Speak Out Girls’ Speech Competition, an event designed to empower girls.

First place went to J. Blio Brownell, 18, of the Seventh-Day Adventist Revelation High School senior class. Her topic was early marriage, and she was awarded the first place prize of L$35,000 (USD 385.)

Another senior from the school, D. Sarah M. Sumo, won the second place prize of L$15,000 (USD 165.) Her speech focused on teenage pregnancy.

Liberia’s Daily Observer reported that the Speak Out Girls’ Speech Competition, held this year over the Nov 26-27 weekend, was established to promote enthusiasm, imagination and innovation in young Liberian girls as they tackle problem-solving in their communities.

The non-profit Youth Exploring Solutions (YES) organized the event, hoping to encourage self-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem and persuasive skills.

In attendance was the Swedish ambassador to Liberia, Lena Nordström, who delivered the keynote address.

The diplomat encouraged young women in attendance, saying that they did not “have to be silent on issues that are affecting you or hindering you from achieving your dream and aspiration. You need to believe in yourself and work towards everything you want to accomplish in life. Everything wouldn’t be easy, but your desire to succeed must be unending.”