A team of 11-year-old students from John Gray High School won a national inter-school science and technology challenge to build and operate mini submersible vehicles on Saturday.

The 2017 SeaPerch Challenge involved more than 60 high school students in 11 teams from schools across the island.

Students had to build a remotely operated vehicle from a kit and adapt it to perform a series of challenges.

It is the second consecutive year a team from John Gray has won the competition, which seeks to teach science, technology, mathematics and engineering concepts through a practical challenge.

The winning team of Diamond White, Davonte Howell, Alvan Boxwell and Caleb Feare, called the Aqua Lasers, will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, where they will represent the Cayman Islands at the International SeaPerch Challenge on May 19-20.

Their teacher Desmond White said their hard work and enthusiasm had paid off.

“They worked hard and their win is down primarily to the dedication and preparation that they put in,” he said.

He explained that the youngsters had tested their submersible vehicles in a portable tank and then spent time on evenings and weekends working on the project and practicing operating the vehicle in pools around the island.

Cayman’s participation in the international competition was sponsored by Dart and Minds Inspired, along with Maples and the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association.

Teams from John Gray, Clifton Hunter, St. Ignatius and Layman E. Scott high schools, Cayman Prep and High School, Cayman International School and the University College of the Cayman Islands took part.

They were judged on their ability to operate their vehicles in various underwater challenges at the Camana Bay Aquatics Centre, as well as their engineering journals documenting their work in the weeks running up to the challenge.

Jon Clark, principal of John Gray High School, said he was proud of the efforts of the students.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for our students to win this two years in a row. It shows they can really compete with the best on island. Their creativity and energy was just incredible,” he said.

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