Wed | Jun 20, 2018

WATA announces winners of sustainability competition

Published:Friday | June 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The students of Jonathan Grant High School are pleased with their prize.
Staff and students of Ewarton High School with a symbolic cheque for $750,000. 

​WISYNCO, through its WATA brand, has announced the top four prize winners of its sustainability competition, geared towards promoting the preservation of the environment. The competition kicked off in September 2016 and saw submissions from 38 schools islandwide.

After careful deliberation by an expert panel of judges, the top schools were selected. The projects were chosen based on the impact made on the environment under two categories: conservation and green energy. Students developed team-building skills and expanded their knowledge on sustainability, agriculture, and building and maintaining a healthy environment.

Jonathan Grant High and Ewarton High both placed first. Each school was awarded $750,000. Jonathan Grant received their cheque on Thursday, June 15, and Ewarton on Wednesday, June 14.


Hard work paid off


Students and teachers at Jonathan Grant expressed joy upon learning of their placement. Lisa Powell-Brown, project leader and senior teacher said: "Our mantra here is 'Created for Excellence'. That is exactly what our students stand for, and the hard work of the team has paid off."

The school from Salt Pond Road in St Catherine built an 'ECO-SMART Greenhouse' using plastic bottles. The greenhouse is supported by an aquaponics system, which was installed by the students under the supervision of participating staff members. Students have also benefited from the greenhouse by learning the agricultural science principles behind it.

Keith Fagon, project manager from Ewarton High, was pleased at the school's performance, noting that the victory did not come easy. "We did a lot of work, though it was challenging at times. We have never embarked on an adventure like this before, but the challenge was a part of the excitement," Fagon said.

The students put their scientific acumen to the test and were able to successfully convert used vegetable oil to biodiesel - producing a viable fuel source to operate their school bus. In doing so, they have been able to sustain their operations without the use of gasolene. The school also plans to expand the initiative, providing biodiesel to other schools within the community.

"The students and teachers who participated in this competition have not only shown their school spirit, but they have taught us how healthy competition can create learning opportunities," said Africa Donaldson, brand manager for WATA and CranWATA.

Other schools rounding out the top places were Charlemont High in second place and Norman Manley High in third. The school with the best-sustained project over the next six months will be awarded an additional $500,000.