Bishop Martin wins Sagicor Visionary Challenge

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Bishop Martin High School has earned the top prize at the inaugural Sagicor Visionary Challenge, a regional competition showcasing science and technology. The Sagicor Visionary Challenge is a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), SAGICOR (a regional insurance company), and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). The point of the challenge was to encourage secondary school students to develop innovative ways to construct solutions to problems that their schools face.

BMHS Winners (2)

Orange Walk District’s Bishop Martin High School took on the Sagicor Challenge with their project “Coconuts for Life.” The team, composed of members Dovini Chell, Saul Osorio, team leader Angel Navidad and supervising teacher, Shakira Gonzalez, focused on the problem of high levels of consumption of artificially flavored drinks.Their proposal of a coconut plantation was aimed to not only eliminate the problem but to also provide a recreational facility for the school. The Bishop Martin students used the coconut tree and its fruits for food and drinks, recreation and to create ornaments to provide income for the school.

On Wednesday, March 20th, Bishop Martin High won first place in the national competition among 22 other projects submitted by secondary institutions from across Belize. Bishop Martin High also won for most creative project and best linkage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Team captain Angel Navidad and supervising teacher Shakira Gonzalez then traveled to Bridgetown, Barbados to represent Belize in the SagicorVisonary Challenge Regional competition that took place on April 12th and 13th at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center. A total of 12 projects were showcased by the participating countries of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. Belize’s “Coconuts for Life” took first place in the challenge, and it has put Belize in the spotlight with this innovative idea.

BMHS Winners (3)

Second place winners were Wolmer’s Boys School from Jamaica for their project “Electro-light, Making Your Electricity Bill Lighter” and third place went to Naparima Girls College from Trinidad and Tobago for their project “So What Is The Farmer In Your Neighborhood”.

In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, teacher Shakira Gonzalez stated how excited and accomplished she and the team felt. “The competition was fierce. The other countries did bring their A game. Guyana was the favorite to win; however “Coconuts for Life” took gold with the Eco-park and the coconut orchard theme,” said an ecstatic Gonzalez. Bishop Martin High will continue developing the project. “With the guidance of our agriculture teacher, this project can be done with a start-up capital of $5,000. We have 13 acres of land that can be utilized for the proposed Eco-park and coconut orchard,” explained Gonzalez. “This project can also be replicated in any Caribbean country with resources similar to Belize’s.” Gonzalez also told The San Pedro Sun that as the winning country, Belize will be hosting next year’s competition, “We have set the standards for next year’s competition, and our project will be used as an example.”

All 12 national teams were rewarded with a seven-day, all-expenses-paid, STEM Ambassador Program in Florida, USA. The program, courtesy of Sagicor, includes visits to places like the Kennedy Space Centre, Disney’s EPCOT Center, the Museum of Science and Industry and the engineering labs at the University of South Florida. Belize’s Bishop Martin High School was awarded $10,000 BZD, and a complete science lab renovation for the school, amongst other wonderful prizes.

BMHS Winners (1)

The San Pedro Sun joins the Belizean community in congratulating Bishop Martin High School’s team on a job well done. Keep it up!

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