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Young visionaries show off talents

Gercine Carter

Young visionaries show off talents

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A private sector-driven project designed to ensure the future sustainability of the Caribbean region has motivated several Barbadian schools to come up with innovative and creative projects designed to solve problems in schools.
Sagicor Life Inc. and the Caribbean Science Foundation conceptualized the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge in partnership with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), providing support and mentorship to students to explore and develop the integration and application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to solve problems facing their communities and achieve sustainability.
Barbadian schools turned out impressive project displays when judging for the National Competition took place at the University of the University (UWI) Cave Hill Campus last week.
St Winifred’s School eclipsed all others, carrying off the first prize and another four awards.
Diesel vehicles and others with carbon emissions polluting the atmosphere and affecting children with respiratory problems around the Pine Hill, St Michael School, prompted students Richard Estwick, Joshua Parris, Sabrina Da Silva and Rachel Simm to come up with the CARbon-ionizer, a device they designed to filter the air. It scored big with the team of expert judges.
Sagicor’s assistant vice-president, marketing, Tracey Lloyd commended all students on the high standard of their projects.
She said the challenge was established as a way to encourage young people to think of innovative ways through which the Caribbean could establish and maintain sustainable communities.
Second-placed St George Secondary School looked to alternative energy to solve problems at their school.
Student Rodneesha Downes-Inniss explained to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY: “We have a greenhouse at our  school with no electricity, no water, so we came up with the idea of using alternative energy and rainfall, channelling the rainfall to the guttering and into storage tanks.
“We will have a pump and will use the drip system to irrigate the greenhouse. We will also ventilate the greenhouse with wind turbines which we built from scratch with salvaged items.”
In their project the Springer Memorial school attempted to address problems in the agricultural and livestock programme, such as the loss of chickens due to excessive heat from the galvanized roof covering the chicken coop, flooding on the junior block, and the destruction of crops by monkeys.
Student Janae Inniss, giving project details, said: “We would like to replace the galvanized [sheets] with fibreglass to reduce the amount of heat going into the coop; we would also like to install fans to circulate the air and help cool the chickens, using solar panels which we would get help from the teachers to build and power our fans to circulate the air.
“We would like to install a guttering at the top of the roof for the block, connect it to a water tank to store the water, recycle it and use it in the garden to water the plants, and filter it to feed the chickens.
“For the monkey problem we plan to get an audio device, record noise such as dogs barking and people talking and place it around the crops so that when they hear it, they would run from around the crops.”
Barbados Seventh Day Adventist School Green Light not only glows, it grows, using solar panels to power the library and a greenhouse to grow seedlings to bring income for the school.
Supervisors were teacher Dale Hardy and Sandra Maughan.
Home-schooled brothers Ethan and Christian Alleyne came up with a roundabout at the entrance of Christ Church development The Villages at Coverley for their project Road Renovations At Coverley, designed to tackle the “no right turn” traffic issue for Coverley residents.
Eleven-year-old and lone Harrison College participating student Tamina White was commended by Dr Maya Trotz, Sagicor Visionaries Challenge Leader for the Caribbean Science Foundation, for being the youngest of more than 800 students participating regionally in the competition.
With the aid of mentor Russell Watson, Tamina worked on a Digital Media Lab.
“I have never experienced a partnership with a private sector entity that went way beyond the role of a sponsor, as in this project,” said Dr Didacus Jules, registrar and chief executive officer of CXC at the UWI prize-giving ceremony.
Saying he was impressed with the ingenuity and creativity evident in all the displays, Barbados’ Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ronald Jones encouraged Barbadian students to develop a love for the subject of mathematics.
He also had a word for maths teachers, warning that “If you don’t develop that love and appreciation, you are going to turn off so many of our young people”.
“Our Caribbean countries need all the help and assistance in science, technology and maths that they can possibly get,” Jones said.
Winners from the 12 participating Caribbean countries will compete for the big prize in Barbados in the regional finals later this month.