Eighteen local schools in Sagicor science contest

With the deadline for submitting applications having passed, the online voting phase of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge for secondary students began on Monday and 18 local schools are competing with each other for a chance to be chosen for the regional contest.

A check of the voting website up to yesterday revealed that 18 of Guyana’s Secondary Schools successfully met the February 23rd deadline, having submitted their project proposals. A total of 28 proposals have been submitted since some schools, including Central High and St. Roses have made multiple submissions. The general public will now be able to visit the website, http://sagicorvisionaries. org/site/guyana/, and vote for the project that tickles their fancy.

Prospective voters can find a list of all the applicants as well as a description of their project proposal on the website.

Dr. Maya Trotz, an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida and a member of the Caribbean Science Foundation had informed Stabroek News last week that the application deadline would be extended from February 16th, as was initially intended, to the 23rd due to the fact that the website voting page, where persons are supposed to vote for the winning project, was not yet functioning. The page is now up and running and voting is now possible.

Noting that Guyana has approximately 100 Secondary Schools, Trotz stated that it would have been exceptional if each of them had submitted an application.

She had however expressed particular interest in seeing submissions from the St Ignatius Secondary School near Lethem.  She stated that at the teachers’ workshop that was held last October, representatives from the area were present, and opined that a proposal from this area would most definitely be unique, especially if the applicants were to take advantage of the “amazing” bio-diversity found in the area.

Fortunately enough, St Ignatius was among the schools to submit their applications in time with a proposal to create a “Self Sustainable Water Supply.” This proposal was conceptualized due to the unreliable electricity supply in the area. It was stated that the unreliable power supply translates into a water supply problem which needs addressing. This is but one of the many purposes of such a supply.

Among the other contestants are Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary, Saraswati Vidya Niketan, the Bishops’ High School, Tutorial High, Saint Rose’s High School, Zeeburg Secondary School, Queen’s College, Corentyne Comprehensive High School, West Demerara Secondary School, and Covent Garden Secondary.

After the online voting, national competitions will be held in Guyana, as well as other participating countries where the competing students will be provided with a poster board, table and power outlet that they can use in any way to showcase their project idea and convince judges that their projects are the best. The team leader from each winning team and supervising teacher at the national level will compete in the regional competition in Barbados in April.  They will also represent their respective country in a seven-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador programme to Florida which includes visits to places like the Kennedy Space Center, Disney’s EPCOT center, The Museum of Science and Industry and the engineering labs at the University of South Florida.

The Challenge is the product of a partnership among Sagicor, the Caribbean Science Foundation, and the Caribbean Examination Council and it aims to: boost institutional STEM capacity in secondary schools in the Caribbean, ignite interest among youth for innovation in STEM in an effort to build and integrate sustainable communities throughout the Caribbean; and integrate knowledge gained from formal and informal education to enable tomorrow’s leaders to build a more sustainable Caribbean.

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