The TATI 2020 Caribbean American Heritage Youth Essay Competition Finalists

The Transforming America Through Interaction (“TATI”) has announced the winners of their annual Caribbean American Heritage Youth Essay Competition.

This competition, geared towards High School students at the 11th and 12th-grade level, allows the opportunity for Caribbean American youths in the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties to engage and participate in an annual activity that celebrates them and their heritage.

Students in all three counties compete annually in this competition that places Caribbean heritage in the forefront at the school level and allows for the extensive research and exploration of a vibrant heritage.

This year’s topic, “Do you think that Social Media has a positive or negative impact on the Caribbean community?” – hit home with students who are engaged at some level in social media activities.

The finalists for this year’s competition were announced virtually on a Zoom reveal coordinated by the TATI Board of Directors.  During the reveal, students were introduced to members of the Board and were given the opportunity to interact, ask questions, and to share a little bit of themselves with Board members.

The 2020 Caribbean American Heritage Youth Essay Competition finalists were:

3rd place – Phillip Wong, of Jamaican/Cuban heritage, from College Academy at Broward College in Davie, FL,

2nd place – Djeffnie Francois, of Haitian heritage, from Stranahan High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and

1st place – Jordon Neal of Belizean/US Virgin Islands heritage, from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.


“COVID may have slowed down the world in 2020, but not TATI’s commitment to our cause, says Garfield Wright, President of TATI, Inc.“ Congrats to the winners of our annual essay competition.  We wish you all the best in your endeavors.”

“It was amazing, the level of participation this year.  It was a tight competition, and choosing a winner was not an easy task for our judges,” said Founder and Chair, Tanya Ragbeer. “It was quite obvious that everyone took the time to really research their topic, and the writing quality was exceptional. Those who didn’t make it to the win were only eliminated on minor technicalities.  From this, I encourage our youths to continue to participate in this activity, and I implore all future participants to heed the established rules and guidelines, as, in the end, they are generally what separates the winners.”

Members of the Board of Directors followed up with the official check and certificate awards at a private outdoor ceremony with the winners and their parents.

“We were happy to do this in such a way that these young people could appreciate their success, and to bring some enjoyment at the start of a difficult school year, with its many challenges related to the pandemic,” continued Ragbeer.

TATI was formed in memory of Tatiana “Tati” McIntosh, daughter of Mrs. Tanya Ragbeer (the organization’s founder and Chair), who passed away in 2007.  It is the mission of TATI to unite, educate and mentor youth, to merge cultures, instill strong moral values, personal identities, and healthy communities, and to bridge social, cultural, and generational gaps to develop Caribbean American pride and a solid foundation for a brighter tomorrow.


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