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Local schools shoot for the stars with innovative technology initiative


Group of school pupils pictured with their award alongside the Principal of the College

Year 10 students from nine local schools took part in a technology tournament hosted by Northern Regional College and Ballymena Rotary Club at the College’s Farm Lodge campus, which saw them go head to head to design, build and launch a space capsule. This year’s annual tournament was the largest yet, with 80 students from St Benedict’s College, Ballymena Academy, St Louis Grammar School, Cambridge House Grammar School, St Patrick’s College, Slemish College, Castle Tower School, Dunclug College and Cullybackey College putting forward 19 teams to compete for the top prize of £200.

Their solutions were tested and judged against each other, with the judges selecting the overall winning team and the runners-up, who received a prize of £100.

This year, a team from Culleybackey College scooped the top prize, displaying a keen aptitude for creative problem solving and practical solutions.

The runners-up were from Dunclug College, also showing their knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM subjects) and their application.

All of the students who took part received formal certification from Sentinus, which will be added to their educational portfolio.

James Briggs, past-president of Ballymena Rotary Club, said: “Rotary clubs throughout the UK and Ireland have been holding technological events designed to inspire school children to consider STEM subjects, for a number of years.

“I would like to thank the nine local schools who entered teams for their support and participation. In addition, the day would not have been possible without our partners in Northern Regional College and our sponsors from a range of businesses in the area.  Without their generosity we could not have made this event the success that it was."

Professor Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College added: “We were thrilled to partner with Ballymena Rotary Club in this innovative initiative. Congratulations to Cullybackey College and Dunclug College on their winning projects.

“At Northern Regional College, we recognise the importance of STEM subjects and the role they play across all industries, and so offer STEM-based courses focused on the practical and industrial application of the subjects to help promote employment opportunities.

“This competition was an excellent opportunity for students to explore STEM-related concepts, helping them to see what a career in STEM can look like– and has come at the crucial time when year 10 pupils are making their GCSE subject choices. 

“We are excited to build on the success of our collaboration and partnership with the Ballymena Rotary Club going forward.”

The competition was supported and sponsored by local businesses including: Moore Concrete, Thermo King / TTP, Michelin, Ballymena Business Centre, RLC Group (Langford Lodge), Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank, Wilsons of Rathkenny, Moy Park, Stevenson Quarry, Martin & Hamilton, Smyth Engineering, ASF Engineering and News Rack.