12 year-old Jacaranda Standard 6 student John Samson wins Royal Commonwealth Junior Essay Competition, goes to London and meets the Queen!
On 14th November, 2012, twelve-year old Jacaranda student John Samson met Her Majesty the Queen, after winning the 2012 Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition. John had the honor to present the Queen with a tablet featuring his essay, along with the 60 best testimonies out of the tens of thousands of entries written by citizens from the 54 Commonwealth countries (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Autralia, India, Canada, etc).

Every year, the Royal Commonwealth Society in London, UK, launches an international Essay Competition open to students from the Commonwealth countries. This year was a very special year as Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her Jubilee of 60 years on the throne.

At Jacaranda School for Orphans, we encouraged our students from both primary and secondary schools to enter the essay competition. Twelve children submitted essays and three weeks ago, we were stunned to receive a long email from The Royal Commonwealth Society revealing that John Samson, one of our Standard 6 students, had been chosen as the winner of the Junior Essay Competition, out of 8,500 entries! It is a huge honor for John and for our school.

Students had to pick a theme for their essay and John chose "The day I wore my best clothes". John explained that the day he received his Jacaranda School uniform, his life changed as he became a student like the others. He felt on that day that he had overcome many of the struggles he encountered during his life: losing both his parents; being chased from his home by his uncle; living alone; dropping out of school; begging on the street to survive; and walking long hours to hospital to receive the medicine he needs to take on a daily basis.

John wrote a straightforward and heartbreaking testimony of his life, a tribute to the orphans of Africa and beyond which won him the recognition of a panel of judges which included

The Honourable Lady Jane Roberts, award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Telegraph Deputy Editor Benedict Brogan.

To read John's winning essay, please click here. For photos of John at the Jacaranda School, in his home in Malawi and with the Queen during his London trip, please click here.

For pictures of John at Jacaranda School and at home in Malawi and during his trip to London, please click here.
For more pictures of John Samson with the Queen, during his trip to London, and in Malawi at Jacaranda and at home, please click here.
To read John Samson's winning essay, please click on the pic.