SPHS enter Sagicor’s “Visionary Challenge” with a paper recycling project

Monday, March 4th, 2013

SPHS-Sagicor-Challenge-3Six senior students; Eric Donis, Ervin Chacon, Julio Chacon, Conrad Gonzalez, Brandon Munguia, Chris Saldivar and Riel Contreras, all from the San Pedro High School (SPHS) have entered a Caribbean competition called “Sagicor Visionary Challenge.” The fourth form science students, based on the rules of the challenge, are making cardstock from recycled papers. The winning school at the national level will then go on to the regional competition as the country’s representative.

Sagicor Visionary Challenge is a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), SAGICOR (a regional insurance company), and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Aimed at secondary schools from 12 Caribbean countries, the purpose is for the participating school to find solutions to problem challenging their institutions. “We see students dumping out paper every day. An estimated 20 four-foot size garbage bags of paper are thrown away every other day. That’s a lot of paper being wasted and it’s a lot of paper that can be reused… if you look at it, it also saves trees and helps the ecosystem,” said Donis. “The project mainly entails recycling papers used at our school. We were tasked in finding a problem and then a solution to the problem. Our problem in our school is the usage of papers and our solution is to recycle it,” explained group member Riel Contreras in an interview with The San Pedro Sun.

SPHS-Sagicor-Challenge-4The challenge tasks participants to use technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenge identified. The proposed solution is what the schools presents in order to enter the competition.

“The first process is that you collect the papers. The second process is to shred then soak the paper. During soaking we try to shred the papers into smaller pieces before going to the other process, which is blending. After blending, we placed the material (paper pulp/blended paper particles) in a frame made from treated pine and sieve that is placed in a larger container with water,” detailed Donis who said that the group managed to match the right amount of glue, paper and water to have the material stick together.

SPHS-Sagicor-Challenge-6While the project is for a competition, science teacher Ricardo Sedacy hopes that the project can be later taken up by other students as a long term project for SPHS as a means to reduce garbage. “We hope that maybe in the near future we can start to supply the school with Bristol boards that the same students will be able to use during their class project to encourage conservation and recycling,” said Sedacy.

The students plan to use the finished product to make folders, arts and craft materials, scrap books, disposable placemats, cups and plates and colored paper amongst other usage. The group can only make a total of six Bristol boards per day because of the lack of funds to make more frames. Any member of the community that is willing to assist the group can contact their science teacher Ricardo Sedacy at 604-3732 or at [email protected] The project must be ready for supervision by March 20th, at which point a country winner will be selected to represent Belize regionally.

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