Congratulations to our Year 10 national competition finalists
The Longitude Explorer Prize (LEP) is a competition founded in 1714 when the British government needed to find a solution to navigating across dangerous oceans. Nowadays the competition is run by a government funded company called Nesta. It is aimed at innovative 11-16 year olds with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This year's LEP challenged the applicants to come up with a new and unique way to use artificial intelligence to help people live: greener, better, longer or together.
St James’ students leapt at the opportunity for such innovation and 5 teams submitted a roughly 2000 word application explaining their idea. Of the hundreds of applications submitted, 60 made it through to the semi-finals including two of our own: Team Gomes (Erica Gomes, Janeeta Binoy, Aoife Oliver, Emily Carlton and Daine Suguitan) with their ‘AI Load of Rubbish’ idea and Team iMedia (Annabel Gouveia, Kayla Pereira and Joseph Alvarado) with their idea of “the ocu-helper”. On the 30 January the two teams and I attended the semi-finals event day in the Olympic Park, where we enjoyed a free lunch but more importantly a series of talks on technology and entrepreneurship led by leading experts in the field. The students then went away and created detailed powerpoint and creative video to justify them qualifying the finals.
A month later, both teams were accepted into the finals along with 37 other teams. To my understanding, St James Catholic was the only school to have two teams accepted into the final which was a fantastic achievement in itself. However, the journey wasn’t over yet, with more project development underway for the final. Little did we know at the time that within weeks, the final event would be cancelled and school would be closed due to COVID-19. Nesta decided to plough on with the competition and as did we. Each team would meet with me online weekly throughout this difficult period to put together their final business plan and project pitch. During this time we attended webinars, participated in a one-to-one tuition session with a professional tutor and most importantly, we were linked with a mentor. This expert support had the aim of improving our understanding of the technology and developing our idea further.
The mentor for both teams was Steven Kear from Kear Technology Solutions. Steven would join us in our weekly meeting to add a professional touch to our products. After the students sent a thank you message to Steven at the end of the competition, he told me the following: “In the 18 years I’ve been evolving in the Technology sector, it’s hands down the most touching feedback I’ve ever received, so thank you!”
The cherry on the cake of this fantastic journey is that one of our teams, Team iMedia, were runners up in the competition and won the school £10,000 in prize money! Both teams deserve enormous credit for their creativity, work and dedication throughout but a special, special congratulations to Team iMedia for their wonderful achievement.
More information about either of the teams or their ideas can be found here:
Written by their very proud team Champion, Mr Faber-Baruch