The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge took place today in Belize City. More than thirty entries were submitted by schools across the country on projects that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It was a tough competition going on and late this evening, the judges released the names of the winning entries and there is a repeat winner. Bishop Martin High School has topped the competition once again; second and third places went to Saint Catherine Academy. Duane Moody spoke with the winners prior to the announcement and has a report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
It’s that time again…the biennial Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. Today at the Ramada Belize City Princess, twenty-eight schools from across the country submitted approximately thirty-two entries. The competition this year focuses on innovative projects of students that will benefit their schools and by extension their communities. The project had to embody the acronym STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Abel Simpson, Sales Manager, Sagicor Belize
“The ante has certainly gone up. If you go to the different stalls, you will realize that a lot of work has gone into it and the fact that students are now familiar with what has happened before, they got that experience, you will find that a lot of that information has gone into it.”
“Tell us about the judging criteria. What is it that the judges are looking for?”
“Tough question, but essentially the students were required to load on a proposal—a written proposal on to our website and that proposal has now been brought to the practical aspect that you can now see. In terms of judging they will need to give a two minute presentation to the judges and then be able to answer questions in regards to their projects.”
In 2012, the Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk, topped the national competition outdoing the concepts from some eleven other CARICOM countries to win the regional visionaries challenge title for its project, “Coconuts 4 Life.” This year, the school is back in the competition…this time with its take on the benefits of chaya.
Maria Pech, Bishop Martin High School
“We have noticed that chaya helps with the blood and has many health factors. It contains protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A, B and C and so it will help students with their many health problems that they have. So we want to implement this in the school and not only in the school but we want to go countrywide as well. We want the government to implement a policy whereby the chaya will be served at least three times a week at the hospital because the patients are the ones that need the help the most. And also for the Ministry of Agriculture to distribute the chaya plants all over the country for people to have access to it. and it is not something that needs a lot of care; it grows easily, it is very accessible, it can grow through any climate conditions. So it is very easy to have and maintain it.”
Styrofoam is widely used in the fast food industry, but the St. Catherine Academy students’ project, “STYRONOAM,” is looking at phasing out the usage of the non-biodegradable resource.
Christina Aldana, St. Catherine Academy
“Our school, we collect six to seven bags of Styrofoam plates daily. So we really want to really exterminate this amount of Styrofoam plates and re-substitute them with reusable and recyclable plastic containers.”