Sagicor Life Inc hosted its Sagicor Visionaries Challenge Workshop on February 19, 2016, for science teachers at its Head Office at 16 Queen’s Park West, Port-of- Spain.
The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge is a yearly regional competition, through a collaboration between the Caribbean Examination Council and the Caribbean Science Foundation, that seeks to boost institutional capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in secondary schools.
The teachers who attended the workshop were introduced to the Caribbean Science Foundation’s (CSF) Trinidad and Tobago representative, Dr Kethurah Williams-Howell and Petal Jetoo, a CSF representative from Guyana. Both Dr Williams- Howell and Jetoo guided teachers on the process for entry, as well as the rules and judging criteria. The teachers were then placed in groups and required to determine a problem facing their community or school, and, as outlined in the requirements for the competition, come up with an innovative and sustainable solution that can be implemented.
Dr Williams-Howell said, “I see Sagicor, through Visionaries, becoming a lead supporter for STEM in the Caribbean. Their resources and connections will allow secondary schools to be fully exposed to STEM and their applications.
“I expect that for this year’s competition we will have full participation of the secondary schools…Also, as an extension to this competition the goal would be to attract companies, the government, etc, to look at the projects as possible commercial projects.”
In the audience was the supervising teacher, Jeannette Brown, from the defending school, Five Rivers Secondary, that copped the Sagicor Visionaries 2014 title with its winning project, Cardboard Box Pellet – A Recycling Project. That project aimed to reduce Trinidad and Tobago’s carbon footprint by providing an efficient alternative to the waste disposal system and creating a useful, environmentally-friendly by-product from the discarded cardboard breakfast boxes at their school.
As national winners, this year’s winning team will receive computerised mobile science and technology centre (Vernier system), microscience kits, a challenge trophy and award certificates. In addition, they will enjoy an all-expense paid seven-day STEM Ambassador Programme in Florida in July 2016. The tour includes visits to the Kennedy Space Center, the Museum of Science & Industry, Disney World’s Epcot theme park and the Patel School of Global Sustainability (USF).
The winning team will also qualify for the Regionals which will be held in Tampa, Florida, in July 2016, where they will be eligible to win up to US$5,000 for their school.