A seven-day, all expense paid trip to Tampa, Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center, Disney EPCOR Center and the University of South Florida is up for grabs in the “Sagicor’s Visionaries Challenge 2014.”
The challenge is open to students in several Caribbean countries between the ages of 11 and 18 in private and public schools who can identify a problem within their school or community and using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), develop a solution to the problem identified.
The aim of the Challenge is to ignite an interest in innovation among youth through STEM and to help develop the skills and knowledge needed to build and integrate sustainable communities throughout the Caribbean.
A workshop to educate and familiarize teachers on the rules of the competition was held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium on Friday.
Assistant General Manager at Sagicor Insurance, Brenton Hillaire, said the workshop is the first step towards educating those interested in the competition and the launch of a website will follow in May.
“The website will create an opportunity for you to obtain vast information about the competition,” he stated. “It will give you information about the guidelines, the overall objectives of the competition. It will also provide opportunities for you to submit applications online and if there are any persons here becoming mentors, they can also apply through the website.”
He said step three will include actual submission of applications and voting on the best project.
The winning school will receive learning materials, an all-expenses paid STEM Ambassadorial program for the students and their teachers to Tampa Florida, challenge shields and specialty certificates.
Previously in the competition, each winner in participating countries would go against each other but this time after winners are selected in each country, they will automatically go to Tampa.
“This trip will involve trips to Kennedy Space Avenue, where you will have lunch with an astronaut and a tour of the state facility, you will visit the Museum of Science and Industry, where you will engage with the Hurricane stimulator, the Idea zone, the Bank of America butterfly garden,” Hilliare explained. “Then you also visit the Disney EPCOT Centre, and finally you will visit the University of South Florida…this is a wonderful package for the winning school, and I believe that it is something that we all have to work for.”
He noted that the trip will “help the teachers, who will help our students in the future and also provide a foundation for students to see the possibility for where Science can lead them.”
The countries participating are: Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago
STEM was conceptualized in 2001 by the US-based National Science Foundation and has the objective of making students become more critical thinkers.