Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy students win 2019 MOE Youth Innovative Challenge

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy (OA) won the 2019 Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Youth Innovation Challenge competition on Thursday, May 9th in Belize City. OA’s students Preston Smith, Lupita Aldana, Daniela Novelo, Alejandro Arias-Perez, and Vincent Sotz, along with their mentor Janel Cayetano, competed against 14 other high schools from around the country at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, placing first at the end of the competition with their financial literacy mobile application.
The event began on Tuesday, May 7th, and for three days, students from various participating secondary schools presented ideas related to financial literacy. OA’s innovative idea for their ‘Finance Wise’ project stood out from the start in front of an audience and esteemed judges. The project includes a website/app, which also comes with a YouTube Channel. According to Aldana, the website is expected to help students and other interested parties in becoming financially literate, teaching them how to budget and helping people in setting priorities when it comes to spending.
Novelo stated that the application is curriculum based and they are planning to partner with the Caye Caulker Village chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and hold a finance event. “This is in an attempt to spread the idea across to adults, who are not much into technology,” said Novelo. It was highlighted in the presentation that Belizean students make up about 24% of the population, and as the future of the country, they need to be well educated in the financial sector. The proposition to introduce elements of their project to the current school curriculums on financial studies will be pitched to the MOE. In the meantime, the students of OA are looking forward to introducing their app and YouTube Channel and get students and people from across the country involved in this beneficial program that is expected to help everyone to budget their finances.

The OA students were awarded the top prize, consisting of a tablet and $750 each. In second place was Saint Catherine’s Academy, and taking third place was Edward P. Yorke. Other schools that participated included San Pedro High School, Belize High School, Gateway Youth Center, Ladyville Technical High School, Sadie Vernon High School, Frank Lizama Training Center, Kings College, and Maude Williams High School.
To learn more about OA’s project, visit their YouTube Channel via bit.ly/ZLHBapW.

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