Raymond Gardiner High School and the Oseta Jolly Primary School are winners of the inaugural Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa-sponsored Ministry of Education Jeopardy-style Mathematics Competition, held over two days – Tuesday and Wednesday at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex in Providenciales.
Oseta Jolly won the primary school segment on the opening day, with Ona Glinton coming second, and Ianthe Pratt placing third.
The Secondary Schools competition, which took place on Wednesday, saw Raymond Gardiner turning back the challenges of five other schools – Clement Howell, HJ Robinson, Wesley Methodist, International School of the Turks and Caicos and the Louise Garland Thomas High School.
International School of the Turks and Caicos ended the competition in second place, with Clement Howell ending in third position.
Jhadel Lewis, a member of the victorious Raymond Gardiner male duo, told the news media that winning the competition felt like an out-of-body experience.
“To be honest with you, it feels surreal,” Lewis explained. “Coming into the competition I was a bit nervous, but I was confident in my partner (Cajair Davidson) and so, it all worked out at the end of the day.”
Lewis revealed that they began to believe victory was in sight at the end of the penultimate round, because it was at that juncture that the team’s confidence level shot up to another tier – having led at the end of all the rounds.
“I was like, we are getting it because that was when all the doubts began to go away, and everything was beginning to feel more natural,” he said.
As to how they would be celebrating, Lewis noted: “I guess, going back to school, celebrate with everyone there. It is one thing to win things for ourselves, but all these trophies are for the school, so we are very happy.”
The Raymond Gardiner Math Coach, Donovan Thomas, pointed out that that the competition was an enjoyable one, and the his team was already chomping at the bit for next year’s renewal.
“It was a general preparation in class, and the students also prepared on their own,” Thomas said, when asked about the Raymond Gardiner preparation.
“We were confident after the first round. We were leading and we maintained that lead for the rest of the rounds. We were very conservative in the last round, but we pulled through,” he said.
Elisann Delancy, Curriculum Development Officer at the Ministry of Education, and also the point person for the region’s ‘Let’s Read Project’, was elated at the level of competition displayed by both the high school and primary school students.
She pointed out that the ‘Let’s Read Project’ focuses on literacy and numeracy recovery and enhancement. She said its intention is to address literacy and numeracy loss within the primary and secondary schools, which birthed the idea of the Jeopardy Match Competition.
“And you will see more programmes coming from the department, as well as schools, that seek to make Math fun, because we want students to start rethinking Mathematics, and see Mathematics fun again in school. That is the reason behind this competition,” she said.
She added: “We are hoping by next year we have more schools in the competition. We extend invitation to all schools. And next year they can look out for the invitation much earlier. And students will have time to prepare, so that we can have this competition again.”
Delancy pointed out that the ministry was already looking to have more subject areas integrated into the Jeopardy game.
“We want students to see that school is fun, and specifically, Mathematics is fun. I think that the love for Mathematics has died over the years, and we also want students to see how they can apply Math in the real world…and that is where our primary curriculum is coming from.
“The questions that were used for the first day – the Primary – we utilized our new National Primary Curriculum for grades three to six, and next year we will be launching our Secondary Schools Curriculum, and we will be utilizing the content from that for our competition,” Delancy revealed.
For his part, Jamie McAnally, General Manager for Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa said his entity was elated when approached by the Ministry of Education to sponsor the event.
“I think it is a fantastic event. Over the years we have been a partner with the Ministry of Education – the spelling bee contest over the years. And when we were contacted about this new initiative for Math, we thought it was great,” McAnally said.
He added: “We try to support the community in different ways, but when it comes to education and the young people, we are most happy to do.”
He said the backpacks with school supplies provision came from the Sandals Foundation, which acquired the gifts from its guests that come to the resorts.
“And for the winners of both the primary schools and this event (high schools), we gave day passes for the winners and their families to come to the resort and spend the day and enjoy.
“To support these initiatives is something that we will always do. It is always fun to be in the room to see their excitement, to see what they have achieved, and so, anyway we can help and support, we want to do that,” McAnally said.