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May 23, 2012

Kids build their own Virtual City

The winners of My Virtual City competition were announced this morning. Of the twenty-five schools that entered the contest, a northern high school and a city primary school bested the teams. Since last October when it was launched at the GIS Day, the teams began to conceive their model of a futuristic city incorporating national issues that range from health to education to natural disasters. News Five’s Delahnie Bain caught up with the winners.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Primary and Secondary School students took on a major challenge in the first annual My Virtual City Competition. As the name implies, the participants were to build a futuristic model city and virtual map using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The initiative was the brain child of Total Business Solutions Limited, which was supported by the United Nations Development Program. TBSL Managing Director, Loretta Palacio, says the students had to tackle serious national issues.


Loretta Palacio

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

“We’re looking at national development standards for Belize, looking at international development standards as well using the millennium development goals. So while we’re using the GIS technology, it was not only about technology, but it was challenging the students to think about what their city, fifteen years plus from now, would be like, looking at issues of health, how they manage education, sustainable development, how they would deal with emergency management; a lot of big topics.”


Francisco Roquette

Dr. Francisco Roquette, Asst. Resident Representative, UNDP Belize

“From the UNDP side, it is really an honor to be a part of this initiative basically because we saw an opportunity to partner with TBSL and others, looking at several aspects of the Millennium Goals, when you are planning a city and this is one of the things that I will take with me for sure. We are very proud to be part of this and I wish to confirm UNDP’s commitment for next year’s initiative.”


It took months of work and training in both GIS software and architecture to build the model cities, which were presented and judged today.  In the high school category, William Mahler and Philip Gongora of Corozal Community College each won themselves a new laptop plus five hundred dollars with their virtual city, Tera Nova.


William Mahler, Student, Corozal Community College

William Mahler

“I was very confident from the beginning that we were going to be the winners because of the dedication, the hard work, you know the competence that was put in from the beginning.”


Delahnie Bain

“Tell us a bit about what you all portrayed in the city that you built?”


William Mahler

“The city basically when it relates to the infrastructure, the location, the crime, the pollution, you know we designed our city in a way that it caters to fifty thousand residents. We want the lowest level of pollution, ninety-nine percent crime-free and basically everything in our city.”


Chloe Kelly

Mahler and Gongora put countless hours into building their city and so did the primary school winners; Chloe Kelly, Max McField and Ethan Singh from Belize Elementary who built a city called Nebulas.


Chloe Kelly, Student, Belize Elementary School

“It was just amazing, I was astonished, I was just excited and happy. I was the most happiest person alive.”


Max McField, Student, Belize Elementary School

“I was very, very, very shocked. I mean I see that a lot of people have put a lot and a lot of time into this and I thought, compared to them, I didn’t know how much we were working. I didn’t know if we were working harder, but it was a real shock to me when I found out oh my gosh we won.”


Ethan Singh

Ethan Singh, Student, Belize Elementary School

“At first I thought that there were only four teams but a few days ago I found out that there are eight. Then I was not really sure that we were going to win.”


Chloe Kelly

“We wanted to accomplish the zoning, like have everything in a specific zone. And then the crime, we made a lot of job opportunities so there won’t be a lot of crime and so that was pretty good, that’s what we pretty much aimed for; no crime and then no pollution cause our city is eco-friendly and runs on solar power.”


Patrick Faber

All eight finalists brought their own perspectives and solutions to the issues facing the country and the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports was thoroughly impressed by what he saw.


Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports

“Indeed, many of the problems of Belize, in very simplified ways, were outlined and solved in many of these cities. I say solved because indeed, the suggestions put forward were wonderful suggestions and if it were not for other factors being involved, would serve Belize well in solving some of its problems. I was particularly interested in some of the solutions put forward in crime and violence and for health of course.”


Additional prizes were given for the best team work, best city layout, best use of the GIS and best incorporation of the MDGs in both the primary and secondary school categories. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Kids build their own Virtual City”

  1. just a thought says:

    replace Boots with some of these kids

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