Over at the Princess today, there was a gathering of future scientists. Students from various high schools across the country competed in the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. There was a wide range of competing projects but they all had in common innovation, science and technology. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Seventeen high schools from the various districts except for Toledo were represented today at the national finals for the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. The competition is funded by Sagicor and is in partnership the Caribbean Science Foundation and the Caribbean Examinations Council. It targets the innovation of high school students to devise sustainable plans for their communities.
Abel Simpson, Sales Manager, Sagicor Belize
“We have seventeen schools participating today and we have twenty-four projects being displayed today and as you move around, you would get a better field of the quality of brain power that exists on these projects using those four items we previously mentioned. It was opened to all secondary schools throughout the entire country of Belize.”
Dr. Maya Trotz, Caribbean Science Foundation
“The schools are challenged to look at something in their school or community that they want to fix; some sort of challenge there. Come up with a solution—a solution that is innovative, sustainable and show us how that solution used science, technology engineering and mathematics.”
And the models and displays indeed captured the creativity and innovative ideas of the future scientists and leaders of Belize…from solar technology to botanical solutions and even recycling.
Siian Rancharan, St. John’s College
“We came up with our project called sun to the rescue. We thought about implementing some solar panels into our school because every month, we spend around seventeen thousand to twenty thousand dollars a month alone on electricity. So we wanted to reduce the amount of electricity every month we need. It is pretty viable to actually implement this project. It is going to cost around two hundred and ten thousand dollars. It might look like a hefty sum, but we don’t have to start off with the entire system as yet. In one year, it would take actually one year for it to pay for itself. We would actually save us two hundred and sixty thousand dollars a year. Now if you multiply that in a decade it would save us two million six hundred thousand dollars in ten years; that amount of money just wasted on.”
Rae-Isha Garcia, Delille Academy
“We decided to do this project because we are faced with a shading program at our school and the cafeteria sells unhealthy food. So this is the area where we stand for assemblies and it’s too hot because we stand under the sun and it causes a lot of skin cancer, it causes headache, asthma attacks and fainting. And so our solution is to build a passion fruit shed and to provide shading and since it will have enough oxygen, it will decrease the level of the fainting and the asthma attacks.”
Angel Navidad, Bishop Martin High School
“The students in our school, they prefer flavored drinks only; they don’t want water, but then the only flavored drinks are sodas and artificial beverages that creates dehydration. So we wanted to provide an alternative solution ha twill hydrate them and be cheap enough to be accessible to them. And we also know that the number of birds is decrease and bird watching is a thing in Orange Walk. So we want to integrate both of the problems into an innovative solution and what we came up with is an ecological park.”
Julio Chacon, San Pedro High School
“We took the initiative to solve this problem and we try to recycle this paper because we know that recycling paper helps the environment. We know that the disposal of the garbage in San Pedro, they dump it on the site and it is burnt. And this produces carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide that affects the environment. So we just took the initiative to help mother earth so that we can survive nowadays.”
The competition takes into effect the economy and resources among other issues in CARICOM countries of which twelve are competing. The winner will represent Belize for the regional competition in Barbados.
Dr. Maya Trotz
“We select a winner to represent Belize that comes to Barbados April twelfth, thirteenth for regional competition. That is the team leader and the teacher coming to Barbados and we are doing the same thing; they are now pushing this project for Belize. It is a team of exceptional judges that are gonna look at these projects and select the winner. That winner brings five thousand dollars U.S. back for the school; first runner up, three thousand U.S. [dollars]; second runner up, a thousand U.S. [dollars]. Each team that wins at the national level, the team leader and the teacher are also coming to Florida in July for what we are calling a science technology, engineering and mathematics ambassador program hosted at the museum of science and industry in Tampa, Florida.”
Orange Walk Bishop Martin High School’s Coconut for Life won the competition. Duane Moody for News Five.