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Local Schools Compete in Annual Rotary Technology Challenge


Group of pupils with medals with staff

Over seventy pupils from eight local schools took part in Ballymena Rotary Club’s annual technology challenge hosted by Northern Regional College. The pupils were all given the same basic equipment to complete the challenge and working in teams of four, they had brainstorm possible solutions before writing up their proposed solution and demonstrating how it worked.

This year, St Louis Grammar (Team 1) finished in top spot, just ahead of Ballymena Academy (Team 2) and Cambridge House Grammar School (Team 2).

Now in its eighth year, Engineering lecturer Neil Glasgow said the technology challenge is designed to promote a greater awareness of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects among Year 10 pupils.

“Later this year, Year 10 pupils will have important decisions to make, decisions which could determine their future career path. Taking part in the technology challenge is an enjoyable way for them to learn about the practical application of STEM subjects and we hope that their involvement in the challenge will encourage them to be more open to the possibilities that studying STEM subjects can create.”

Neil added: “We are delighted to host the Rotary Club Technology Challenge as it allows us to welcome local schools on campus and give the young people a chance to view our facilities and learn about the different options the College offers for studying STEM subjects.”

This years challenge called crossing the river, the students were asked to design a way of carrying a package across a gap which emulated a relieve package being sent across a river.

The young people were all given the same basic equipment to complete the challenge. Working in teams of four, they had to select a project manager and brainstorm possible solutions before writing up their proposed solution and submitting their practical working solution. 

A total of 72 pupils from St Benedict's College, Cambridge House, Ballymena Academy, Cullybackey College, Slemish College, St Patrick's College, Dunclug College,Castle Tower School and St Louis Grammer School took up the challenge and competed for the top prize of £200 and runner up prize of £100

Judges for this year’s Rotary Technology Challenge were Tom Keene, Pamela Steele, Hannah Currie, Dervla McErlain, Jimmy Kelly.

Congratulating the winners, Jim Briggs, President of the Ballymena Rotary Club and chairperson of the judging panel commended all the participants for their knowledge and application of the STEM subjects as they worked together to resolve the challenge.

“The challenge was designed to not only a test of their knowledge of STEM subjects but to test other important skills, such as complex problem solving, communication, collaboration and working with others as part of a team.

Mr Briggs added that Ballymena Rotary was indebted to local businesses who had generously sponsored the Rotary Club’s Technology Challenge.