These kids are so talented, they are all truly winners.” This sentiment was echoed by spectators throughout the JCI Antigua Recycle and Create Competition held at the Multipurpose Center on Friday 17th March 2023.
The Recycle and Create competition was started in 2022 by the JCI Antigua Environmental Awareness Programme (EAP) and has continued this year on a larger scale. The primary-school competition seeks to encourage school-aged children to be environmentally aware through research and creativity.
According to the EAP Chairman, PVP Bryon Christopher, “JCI Antigua realized that there was a need to get the youth of Antigua and Barbuda involved in Environmental awareness and to find ways to appreciate our natural resources and find new and creative ways to conserve them. This has now become a flagship project for the committee and by extension the entire organization. The support from the schools and the general public has truly been phenomenal.
This competition teaches the youth about the importance of conservation, it teaches them to appreciate the environment and all it has to offer when we continuously mistreat the environment.”
This year, 11 schools with forty-six (46) students participated in the annual competition with what most have described as “breathtakingly innovative submissions.”
Mrs. Crystal Peters Francis, Deputy Chair of the EAP stated that the competition was more than a competition, “it gives an avenue for primary school students to be creative while learning more about recycling and the environment. It essentially fulfills our mission which is to bring awareness to the importance of recycling in Antigua.”
Head judge of this year’s competition, Senator Shenella Govia, while offering her highest commendations to the participants, stressed how tedious it was to judge the submissions as they were all very creative and useful. However, Senator Govia indicated that the aim of the competition was for the children to create something of their own volition, their own ideas, and most importantly, their own handy work.
Young Ms. Alayna Gilbert from the S.R Olivia David Primary walked away victorious as 2023 Recycle and Create Winner. Alayna single handedly designed and built a laundry basket made entirely from recycled products such as bottle tops. She also impressed the judges by eloquently presenting her piece, explaining her thought process while making the basket and why she opted to create it. “Everyone needs a laundry basket,” Alayna remarked while showing the judges how sturdy the item was. AJ’ Marie Davis from the Old Road Primary School placed second while Kemilique Mayers from Freetown Primary and Gabriella Rodney from Freemans Village placed third and fourth respectively.
Mrs. Yadira Moodystuart from Stingray City Tours, one of the main sponsors of the competition was blown away by the students’ display of work and decided to extend the competition prize to all the participants. “What originally was a grand prize of a complementary tour for our first, second, and third place winners are now extended to all 46 participants, simply because all of the submissions were truly that good,” Senator Govia explained.
Other prizes for the top winners included school supplies, compliments, Happy Kids, science kits, a telescope, and a monetary donation to the science department at the Gospel Light Elementary School.
Speaking at the annual competition held on Friday, JCI Antigua President, Laurel Jonas commented “I am indeed pleased with the creation and innovation presented by the nation’s youth, I am even more excited we (JCI Antigua) would have partnered this year with the Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Campaign who is a major contributor to the event.
The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge (PTTC) is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) led initiative that educates young people around the world about plastic pollution, giving them the tools to change their personal behavior, inspire their communities, and create a better future for people and the planet.
President Jonas also indicated “to commemorate our Recycle and Create competition held last Friday 17th March 2023, we have also partnered with Basel Convention Regional Center Caribbean (BCRC) as a part of their Plastic Tide Turners Challenge.”
Alayna Gilbert – S.R Olivia David Primary
Gabriella Rodney- Freemans Village
AJ’ Marie Davis- Old Road Primary
Kemilique Mayers- Freetown Primary
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