The auditorium of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall erupted in screams of excitement and joy as Abram Zuil Secondary School was declared the winner of the National Sagicor Competition 2014 on Saturday.
The school will represent Guyana as they compete with Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Tampa, Florida (Hillsborough County, USA) in the regional competitions next July in Tampa, Florida.
During the month of November, all participating countries were required to host a national competition to select a team which would go on to represent their respective country at the regional competition.
Each of the winning national teams will meet in Florida in July 2015 for the regional competition and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador Programme.
The winning project – Husk Particle Board Factory – was designed to address the issue of the burning of paddy husk in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). The school explained that the issue of paddy burning is a grave annoyance to residents and contributes greatly to mass air pollution. The solution put forward by the school not only finds a better alternative for the good riddance of the waste material, but also provides a low-cost and durable building material for the market.
How the project works
First, the paddy husk is ground into smaller particles then placed on a conveyor belt which transfers the material into a mixing drum filled with aliphatic resin.
There, the materials are mixed together for approximately 10 minutes before it is moulded and placed on another conveyor belt where it is transferred into a hot and cold press. The compressed material then goes into a refinery. After that process, the boards are trimmed and polished and ready to enter the market.
The school also grabbed the special award prize for Best Creative and Innovative Project.
Other schools snatching special awards were Queens College – Best Presentation; Johanna Cecilia – Best use of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Diamond Secondary School – Best Plan and Project Design; St Roses High School – Most Relevant to a Sustainable Caribbean; and St Ignatius Secondary School – Best Innovation.
Moreover, all schools received certificates of participation. The presiding officials declared all schools winners, saying that most schools developed practicable, feasible and implementable projects.
The students were also urged to not let the end of the regional competition be the end of their journey in Science.
Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony said he was extremely impressed by the ideas presented by the participating schools and was elated to see Guyanese students taking their “book knowledge” and developing them into practical solutions.
Minister Anthony encouraged all the students to work on their projects with the vision of one day implementing them in their communities.
Additionally, Chief Education Officer (CEO) of the Education Ministry Olato Sam said he was extremely pleased to see the large participation of schools in the competition. He said he wants to see more entries in the coming years.
The CEO stated that the “true value” of the competition is what the students take home at the end of it all. On that note, he urged them to reassess what they learnt during their journey and to never forget the experience gained.
Also charging well wishes to the students were officials from the Caribbean Science Foundation and Sagicor Life Inc.
The second and third place finishers in the competition were Queen’s College and St Stanislaus College respectively.