She won three medals during childhood in competitions hosted by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), and she is now helping several children to attain similar feats.
Phylicia Ebanks has written more than 100 poems – some of which are recited by students who medal in the prestigious JCDC contests.
She coaches competitors at Mountainside Primary School in St. Elizabeth where she is employed as a teacher.
“I am overwhelmed with joy each time I hear my poems being recited; it heightens me to write more,” said Ebanks who has been writing poems since childhood.
She added: “The greatest joy is the fact that students are achieving publicity, exposure, and self-confidence by means of reciting these pieces that I have put little energy into writing.”
Ebanks told The Beacon that 15 students from four schools in St. Elizabeth won medals last month after reciting her poems in the JCDC Speech Parish Finals.
Her students at Mountainside Primary School last year copped a total of 10 medals – comprising four gold, two silver, and four bronze – in the parish finals.
Ebanks disclosed that, since 2007 when she started coaching students of Mountainside Primary, they have won more than 30 personal JCDC medals.
“Other schools are now reciting my poems locally, nationally and even on the international scene,” she declared.
Ebanks does not only prepare students for JCDC competitions. She recently helped Mountainside Primary to victory in the inaugural South West St. Elizabeth Debate Competition put on by Member of Parliament Floyd Green.
Ebanks, who was three years old when her mother died, was raised by her grandaunt Veneta Dennis and her husband Patrick Dennis at Beacon district in the Treasure Beach area of St. Elizabeth.
“They loved and cared for me well,” she said in relation to her former guardians, adding: “Growing up was great even though my biological mom died.”
Ebanks initially wanted to work in the bank or to become an entrepreneur.
She attended Pedro Plains Primary School and Fullerswood All Age before she enrolled at Black River High.
“During my years at primary school, I was actively involved in speech recitations,” Ebanks told The Beacon. “I got silver and bronze medals with limited training.”
Four years after she left high school, Ebanks went to Bethlehem Moravian College where she pursued a diploma course in Primary Education.
When she left college in 2007, she got a job at Mountainside Primary.
While teaching at that institution, Ebanks went on study leave and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education at the Catholic College of Mandeville.
“Even though teaching was not my first love, I do not have much regret for choosing that path,” she said.
,”I love children and give my all in the classroom. I have shaped so many lives and have inspired many because of my profession and my Christian values and beliefs.”
Ebanks is the mother of two children – ages 10 and 12.
Her 12-year-old daughter, who also has a passion for poetry often recites some of her mother’s creations. From all indications, the future of the Literary Arts remains in good hands.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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