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60 pupils take on Rotary Club’s Annual Technology Challenge

Year 10 pupils from eight local schools took part in Ballymena Rotary Club’s annual technology challenge hosted by Northern Regional College at its Trostan Avenue campus in the town.

For this year’s challenge, the students had to design, build and test an advertising billboard with a flashing beacon.

Sixty pupils, working in teams of four and representing St Louis Grammar, St Patrick’s College, Slemish Integrated College, Dunclug College, Cullybackey College, Cambridge House, Castle Tower School and Ballymena Academy, went head-to-head to complete the challenge in the allocated time.

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Their entries were tested and judged, with marks awarded for application of knowledge, including the number of flashes on the billboard, as well as evidence of effective teamwork and communication skills.

The winning Cullybackey High School team team oAmy Gibson, Christopher Michael, Rhys Wilson and Anna Aitcheson receive their award from Ballymena Rotary Club President James McClure.

This year, Cullybackey College scooped the top prize, while the runners-up were from St Patrick’s College.

Both teams were commended for their ability to not only create a working model but signs of effective teamwork and communication skills. The prizes were presented by James McClure, current president of the Ballymena Rotary Club.

All students who took part in the technology challenge received a certificate to include in their educational portfolio of achievement.

Engineering lecturer at NRC Philip Boyle, said the annual technology challenge helps promote a greater awareness of the importance of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) subjects.

The runners up St. Patrick's team of Aronas Katinas, Ruairi Hendron, Aleena Shiiji and Sophie Dunlop receive their award from Ballymena Rotary Club President James McClure.

He said: “Competing in the technical challenge is an excellent way for Year 10 pupils to explore STEM related concepts as it encourages them to apply their knowledge of the underpinning theory in a fun and innovative way.”

The Rotary Challenge in March 2020 was one of the last events to be held in the College before the first Covid 19 lockdown.

James McClure, who has been involved in the competition since its inception, outlined the judging process: “Every year, it is always amazing to see what students come up with when they are given a brief and basic materials. We encourage the teams to had to assign roles within their team and work together, using various skills to create a successful and practical solution.

“Ballymena’s Rotary Club’s partnership with the College is a great success and gives the the club a great opportunity to support STEM subjects to young people showcase the facilities that are available in the College itself,” he said.