Six Seaquam Secondary students were named as winners in the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition in Canada.
YRE is a United Nations-sponsored global program where students report and take action on local sustainability issues. This year saw 14,000 total entries and is the first time that Seaquam students took part in the competition.
Michael Iachetta, the teacher sponsor of the school’s environment club, said he regularly looks into programs that students would have an interest in, and when he found out about YRE he encouraged them to take part in it.
Two teams from Seaquam looked into the challenges of plastics pollution. Grade 9 students Abnash Bassi, Parvin Malhi and Khushi Bimbrahw won the junior video competition in Canada, while Grade 11 students Pranav Agnihotri, Sarvan Gill and Dryden Wiebe won the senior photography competition.
(above) Young Reporters for the Environment-winning submission by Grade 11 Seaquam Secondary students Pranav Agnihotri, Sarvan Gill and Dryden Wiebe.
The six students travelled to Toronto to receive both their individual and school awards in late May.
Iachetta said that the students worked on their projects on their own time, throughout the winter months.
“It gave them a chance to look at local sustainability issues, to think globally and act locally,” he said. “They interviewed Mayor Lois Jackson and wrote about issues facing Delta. It was a great experience for them.”
Although the students appreciate the recognition, they were motivated by their desire to learn and to share that learning with their fellow students and community.
“We felt that this would be a good opportunity to connect with the community and spread awareness about plastic pollution,” said Bassi. “It was a great way for us to share insight into the issue and to learn more about it ourselves.”
Another element of the project was the opportunity to partner with students from another country. The Delta students partnered with students from Kazakhstan, and interacted with them via Skype.
The top project from each country is entered in an international competition, and the winners of that make a presentation to the UN. While the Seaquam students’ projects did not place first overall in Canada, they were in the top five.
Iachetta said Seaquam was the first school in Western Canada to take part in the competition, and he is planning to follow this year’s successes by encouraging students to prepare another entry in the coming school year.
(below) Young Reporters for the Environment-winning submission by Grade 9 Seaquam Secondary students Abnash Bassi, Parvin Malhi and Khushi Bimbrahw