BPTT energises environmental awareness in students

'This project really cemented the understanding of many aspects of the syllabus for me'

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Environmental awareness and preservation took centre stage as students from across the North and South Eastern Education Districts who participated in the bpTT 2014 Schools’ Environmental Awareness Competition were honoured at the prize distribution ceremony at the Mayaro Resource Centre last week. 

It was an especially triumphant occasion for SWAHA Hindu College student, Monifa Armstrong, who came first in the senior categories of both the art and essay divisions and led her team to second place in the debate finals. 

“I’ve taken part in this competition since 2012 and I have grown as a student and a person due to the exposure I have received. I am doing Environmental Science at CAPE and this project really cemented the understanding of many aspects of the syllabus for me. I have also benefitted from the research, public speaking, writing, self-expression and teamwork that are required for success in this competition. I would encourage every student to get involved and get aware,” Armstrong explained.

Started in 2006, the highly successful competition is endorsed by the Ministry of Education and organised by Mayaro-based environmental NGO, the Black Deer Foundation. It is one of the benchmark projects facilitated by energy company, BP Trinidad and Tobago. The completion of the 2014 competition was unavoidably delayed due to the damage to the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road last November.

Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT was encouraged by the level of participation by schools: “This competition is important to bpTT because it merges environmental awareness with the development of our young people. They have excelled in every aspect of the competition and their brilliance is encouraging, both for the future of the environment, as well as for our nation itself. From critical research and analysis to the highest expressions of artistic creativity, they have cast a searching spotlight on environmental awareness, and on themselves, as future leaders.”

The theme for the 2014 competition was ‘Creating a Symbiotic Relationship with the Environment’, with judging in three categories: Essay Writing; Art/Poster and Debating. The 2014 competition saw participation from 40 schools that submitted 150 essays and 240 pieces of artwork, with eight schools participating in the debating component.  

Outlining the development of the competition was Arvolon Wilson-Smith, President and Founder of the Black Deer Foundation: “It has been a rewarding journey seeing this competition grow and develop over the years. It has created an avenue for awareness on environmental issues while facilitating the refinement of academic and personal development skills. Data has shown that students who participate in this competition, especially in the essay writing and debating aspects, tend to perform better at their final exams. They also become much more aware and active in environmental issues. Overall, we are helping to delevop well-rounded custodians for the future.”

Cecelia George, School Supervisor II of the North Eastern Education District, commended the competition. “We have seen a higher level of input from the students, especially in the essay competition where students demonstrated proper research and structure. This is excellent practice for students who are heading into their final exams at the CSEC and CAPE levels and it also gives them a confidence boost. The teachers, principals, Black Deer Foundation and sponsors bpTT must be commended for their tireless work in creating this forum that energises our young people to raise environmental awareness through self expression,” George explained.

Results of the 2014 BP Trinidad and Tobago Schools’ Environmental Awareness Competition:

7 to 9 Age Group Winner –  	Jonathan Mohammed, North Oropouche R.C. Primary School
10 to 12 Age Group Winner –  	Vritti Ramnarine, SWAHA Hindu College
13 to 15 Age Group Winner –  	Shinika Castillo, Tableland Secondary School
16 to 18 Age Group Winner –  	Monifa Armstrong, SWAHA Hindu College

Essay Writing
10 to 12 Age Group Winner –	Brianna Forbes, Mayaro Government Primary School
13 to 15 Age Group Winner –	Sanelle Chote, St. Stephen's College
16 to 18 Age Group Winner –	Monifa Armstrong, SWAHA Hindu College

Debating Finals
First Place – 	Mayaro Secondary School
Second Place – 	SWAHA Hindu College
Third Place – 	St. Stephen’s College
Fourth Place – 	Coryal Secondary School