Kingston, Jamaica: General Accident Insurance Company (GenAc), on Friday, January 12, 2024, made a timely donation of three computers to St. Hugh’s Preparatory School, one of Jamaica’s leading preparatory schools in robotics.
The computers have arrived just in time for members of the robotics programme who are preparing for the competition next month.
Lesley Miller, Chief Information Officer at General Accident, explained the reason behind supporting the STEM programme at St. Hugh’s Prep School.
“We recognise the importance of fostering STEM education, and particularly, we understand the significance of robotics and coding in the development of young minds. General Accident is committed to contributing to the growth and enhancement of educational programmes that align with these principles,” Miller said.
“The donation of these computers aims to provide valuable resources to the Robotics and Coding Programme at the institution. We believe that the exposure to technology at an early age not only sparks curiosity but also lays the foundation for critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity,” Miller explained.
Sasha Wright, Principal of St. Hugh’s Prep, was delighted with the donation made by General Accident.
“We are happy that General Accident heard about our programme and wanted to invest in our STEM teaching and learning side of the school. They have certainly made a worthwhile contribution.
“We have had the robotics programme for several years, and we are getting better at it each year. The next competition is coming up in February, so we got these computers just in time. It’s perfect timing.”
Wright explained how the computers will impact robotics at St. Hugh’s.
“These computers will be used exclusively for our robotics programme. This will give our programme a real boost because these will be dedicated to that aspect of our school programme. We’ve had to share, and sometimes the devices were being used by teachers for other things, so this (donation) will make a big difference. The big screens will make a difference to their visibility as they are programming, and to have the computers dedicated to that programme has made the students very excited,” Wright shared.
After registering progress in recent competitions like the Halls of Learning Code Jamaica events, expansion is now a key target for the school.
“Last year, we had one team, this year we are hoping to field more teams than that. Last year, we had six students who were working together, and three went on to compete. This year we have more teams and a wider base starting from younger to develop the programme.”
In 2023, the St Hugh’s Prep robotics team secured 1st place for the highest robot run in the WRO Robotics Olympiad qualifiers.
“We have had teams coming out of St. Hugh’s Prep representing Jamaica, and last year, our team did very well even though we didn’t win the competition, and we will have another team this year. We are getting better at it.”
Grade 6 student Kai Whyte enjoys the challenges and learning opportunities provided by the robotics programme.
“I have been a part of the robotics club for about a year now. It is fun and innovative, and it’s so creative, and there are so many different solutions to one problem,” Whyte shared.
“I have enjoyed working with my team, and I have enjoyed the competition as a whole. We have to build a robot, we use the app to code it and then run it on the track,” he explained.
For General Accident, the computer donation is the latest initiative in its ongoing campaign toward facilitating youth STEM education. The general insurance company also recently hosted its second annual Hour of Code session on December 6, 2023, with students of Drews Avenue Primary.