PUNJABI Language Education Association (PLEA) usually holds two major functions every year. International Mother Language Day is celebrated in the third or last week of February. For a number of years PLEA had been also sponsoring Punjabi Jashans in November in collaboration with the teachers of Punjabi in Metro Vancouver. However, due to a number of reasons, it was unable to do so for some time. This year, PLEA started this process again. For this, it is very thankful to a number of teachers as well as PLEA members Ranbir Johal and Parvinder Dhariwal for putting on an excellent student focussed program at Princess Margaret Secondary School in Surrey.
On November 27,PLEA held its first creative writing contest at Princess Margret Secondary School. The contest was for high school students who are currently learning Punjabi in the public school system. PLEA received a range of submissions from over 40 students, including letters, shorts stories and poems. The submissions were judged by Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Punjabi instructor Ranbir Johal and the contest was hosted by Princess Margaret’s Punjabi teacher Amandeep Chhina. The event was organized very well. Prabhjot Sekha introduced students who won prizes. The students read out excerpts from their winning submissions and were awarded cheques from the Deepak Binning Foundation. Sadhu Binning and Balwant Sanghera, President of PLEA, presented cheques as well as PLEA pens to the winners. Every participant received a certificate of participation / appreciation.
An honorable mention was made for Japreet Singh Lehal, an exceptional former student from Princess Margaret who had written a story a few years ago. Japreet is also a wonderful singer and he shared a few of his songs with the audience.
PLEA thanked the Deepak Binning Foundation for providing the award money to the winners. It also thanked and acknowledged all of the teachers and students from Princess Margaret, Panorama Ridge, Queen Elizabeth and LA Matheson for participating in this creative writing competition.
PLEA will host this contest annually and next year it hopes to create an anthology of creative works which will include creative writing submissions from students currently learning Punjabi. Also, in February, PLEA will be celebrating International Mother Language Day. Details will follow early in the new year.
Winners 2014 Writing Contest
Beginners: Poem / Letter
- “Kyoon Bapu?” Jasdip Gill, Queen Elizabeth Secondary
- “Phul” – Gurjot Dhaliwal, Panorama Ridge Secondary
- “Dost” – Rameesha, Panorama Ridge Secondary
- “Nakal Mardi” – Sukhpreet Shergill , Panorama Ridge Secondary
Advanced: Poem / Letter
- “Azaadi” – Kamaljit Singh Bhullar, LA Matheson
- “Zindagi Da Ant” – Aainroop Kaur, Princess Margaret
- “Navi Soch di Zaroorat” – Kiran Bains, Princess Margaret
- “Paro” – Satwant Brar, Panorama Ridge Secondary School
– BY BALWANT SANGHERA
President, Punjabi Language Education Association