Bishop Martin High wins SAGICOR’s Visionaries Challenge Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 00:00

Dr. Maya Trots of the Caribbean Science Foundation is the Program Leader for the SAGICOR Visionaries Challenge. She explained that they asked high school science students to “identify a challenge facing their respective school and, using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenge identified”. Seventeen high schools from across the country took up the challenge and 22 projects were presented on Wednesday, March 20. The Caribbean Science Foundation partnered with SAGICOR and the Caribbean Examinations Council to execute the challenge because it believes that “with a little help, Caribbean governments and organizations could significantly boost sustainability in the region by translating Science and Technology research into economic benefits”. According to the Foundation, “critical to this effort is involvement at the community level, where residents of local communities are able to make informed decisions about how they can live more sustainably.”

Bishop Martin High School won the national challenge with a project entitled, “Coconut for life”. Angel Navidad was the captain of the team. He said, “My teammates and I noticed that most of the students at our school are very dependent on artificially flavoured drinks throughout the day and we believe that this is very unhealthy therefore we propose a coconut plantation at the back of our school. This will provide a very nutritious drink for the students and provide economic gains for our school.” He continued, “We were also concerned about the noticeable decrease in the bird population in Belize; therefore, we included an ecological park that provides housing for birds because we believe the cause of the depopulation is the decrease in habitat.”

Edward P. Yorke finished second in the challenge and Corozal Community College finished third. Bishop Martin High won the most creative project. Edward P. Yorke won most relevant to Caribbean development. Belize High School won best plan and project design and Bishop Martin High won best linkage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with the environment. First place winner of the regional competition wins US$5,000 for their school’s science program. Second place receives US$3,000 and third place gets US$1,000. The teacher and team leader of each national champion get to travel to Florida on a 7 day all expense paid trip as part of a STEM Ambassador Program. The delegation will visit a number of STEM facilities while in the United States.