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Many times the news of student violence or student drinking spread like wildfire, but the accomplishments of teachers and students spread slowly or go unnoticed. This is exactly what a team of teachers and students at San Pedro High set out to change when they joined the Sagicor Challenge.

The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge encourages secondary and high school students to develop effective, innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing them. Entries are first evaluated and judged at the national level in each of the Challenge Countries, with the winning school in each country moving on to the regional competition. Representatives of national school winners and their respective teachers will also participate in a 7-day, all-expenses STEM Ambassador Program to Florida. The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge is open to entries from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia, Tampa (Hillsborough County) and Trinidad & Tobago.

Led by Teacher Ricardo Sedacy, Shakira Coleman and team captain Jennesa Seira, the Sagicor team had been researching, collating information and drilling for the competition for the past 2 months.  This meant staying after classes for several hours to prepare for the competition. Johann Marin explained to Ambergris Today, "Sometimes we stayed up to seven and eight at night to work as a team." When asked how she managed, Kleyni Ramirez explained, "I did not give up my sporting activities. I had to balance my time between sports, my academic work, and then for Sagicor."

It is with a team like this that Teachers Ricardo Sedacy, Shakira Coleman lead a team that comprises, (Jenessa Sierra, Johann Marin, Gian Melgar, Daniel Figueroa, Kimberly Lima, Kleyni Ramirez).  And this past Thursday, March 15, they all excitedly traveled to Belize City to represent San Pedro High in the Sagicor Competition. The trip ended in jubilation when at the end of the competition the judges awarded The SPHS Sagicor team First Runner Up plus another Most coveted award called Best Community Involvement.

Mr. Ricardo Sedacy explained the overall objective of the Competition.
“The bubbling kettle, the aroma from the mug, the first bitter mouthful of the morning. It's a ritual without which the working day would be, for millions of people, frankly horrifying. Caffeine is, according to New Scientist, the planet's most popular "psychoactive drug". Coffee has been shown to contribute to such medical disorders as osteoporosis and heart problems. The high acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion and heartburn. Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. The production of a new and improved “coffee” is the solution, the papaya power proposes to be this elixir to our islanders. We propose to produce papaya leaf tea and use it as a substitute for coffee in the community of San Pedro.  Using papaya leaf tea will reduce costs to the former coffee drinkers. In addition it will be a nutritious substitute which is revitalizing to our internal systems. This product provides an alternative form of nutrition for our community, thus reducing the sole dependency of coffee as an energy booster. The drinking of healthy products will create healthier, stronger adults whose families will have more finance to sustain themselves, pay school fees and bills, and reduce health risk that leads to expensive medical bills. Papaya tea can become, with the support of the community, a means of obtaining the necessary nutrients to protect our parents, the generation we often take for granted.”

San Pedro High has acknowledged and honored the team at a general assembly and Ambergris Today and the Community proudly congratulate the Sagicor Team and San Pedro High. Kudos to everyone and we challenge the entire student body and staff to follow the steps of the role model leader champions.

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Dorian Nuñez

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