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Screen_Shot_2015-05-13_at_8.05.11_PMBishop Martin High School students continue to outshine students across the country and even regionally in the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. The school has once again won the national competition and is slated to represent the country in the international competition that will take place in Florida USA later this year. Their new project is titled Chaya, Mayan Power for Modern Times and it is already a winner. The regional competition is slated to take place in a few weeks from now and while the team has their eyes on the big prize, they also want to rake in another award under the same competition. Science Teacher Wilson Mendoza and the team members were at the Central Park this morning to gather the necessary support to win this prize.

Wilson Mendoza – Science Teacher

“Were soliciting votes from the Belizean public to support the project because now it is no longer about Bishop Martin High School is about Belize because we are representing Belize now for the regionals now and this competition will close on Sunday and so what we are doing right now is that we are asking people soliciting and to show their support and come and vote, if you don’t have a computer at home, if you don’t know the process the students are here to show the audience how to vote, we have people now voting and now what we have to do is very simple, go to the Sagicor Visionary People’s choice award, once you click that on the internet it take you directly to the page and then you click on the Belizeans flag and press vote and you have already voted but you can vote more than one time as well.”

Dalila Ical – reporter

“So, how is the response so far?”

Wilson Mendoza – Science Teacher

“Well, the response is very good, right now we are in second position overall because it is showing you how the voting is going along and right now we have over twelve thousand votes right now for our project and the project that is winning is at fourteen thousand and we have reached the thirteen thousand as well so we are getting closer and so but our objective is to meet tat and surpass and once we can win that section of the contest which is the Peoples’ Choice Award.”

So what is the Chaya, Maya Power for Modern Times project? Group Member Kevin Trejo told us more about this very interesting group work.

Kevin Trejo – Group Member

“We did a blood test to the teacher, they consumed Chaya for one week and the Chaya juice and a blood test before and after and it showed us significant results because some of them had triglycerides were high and it recued it and some of them had it low and it regulates it and it does this with the blood level, sugar level and the cholesterol level as well.  It’s actually to promote Chaya and to show people that Chaya is really good for them to consume and to create awareness as well so that the health level increases because we know that people suffer a lot from sugar, diabetes and triglycerides, cholesterol since those are very bad for the heart and Chaya helps with this and so we want them to consume so that they can have a healthier life.”

As part of their project, the group also did an evaluation as to the availability of the plant in Belize. It is abundant says Trejo, but Belizeans are not consuming as much of it as they should be. Given the results of their research, the group is reaching out to government to promote the nutritious qualities of chaya.

Kevin Trejo – Group Member

“We’re trying to promote with the government so that they can include it at the hospitals and help the patients that are sick with it like at least three times for the week and also for the agriculture department to distribute the stack and for people to plant them in their yard too.”

The competition is sponsored and organized by the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), Sagicor Life Inc (Sagicor) and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Through the competition, the organizers believe that through greater community involvement, communities can live more sustainably and build a better future. Their webpage states, uote, “To create more Sustainable Communities we’ll need greater local knowledge of our limited natural resources, and the impacts of climate change on our food, health, energy, and water security. Innovation in science and technology must play a critical role in overcoming these challenges,” end of quote. The competition is open to entries from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia, Tampa (Hillsborough County) and Trinidad & Tobago. Winning schools in each country move on to the regional competition, a 7-day, all-expenses STEM Ambassador Programme to Florida.

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