Chengelo Students Win Awards at 2019 Genius Olympiad Competition
Five students from Chengelo School participated in the 2019 Genius Olympiad which was hosted by the State University of New York at Oswego in the United States of America. These included Tokoza Thawethe and Nkosikazi in the Music Category and Mubanga Mutimushi, Sibeso Mapani and Natalie Ngosa in the Business Category. The Genius Olympiad is an International high school project competition about environmental issues and this year it hosted over 1500 finalists from around the world.
Tokoza and Nkosikazi scooped the Grand Award in the Music category which was represented by 27 projects from around the world. In the Business category, there were 30 finalists in which Mubanga Mutimushi was awarded the Silver Award followed by Natalie and Sibeso lifting a Bronze Award!
Below the students give an account of their experiences!
Coming up with a project that would get through the initial cut, was a competition in itself. I had sleepless nights trying to compile a project good enough for the competition. I finally settled on an idea and started to make a business plan based on my project, which was Biodegradable Plastic.
Eventually my project was selected but it didn’t stop there. Mr. Chibangu would meet the ‘geniuses’ every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He helped us create Power Point presentations that would be eligible for the judging that took place at Suny Oswego, State University of New York.
Getting ready for the competition included presenting at staff meetings, getting feedback from various staff members and receiving advice from my peers. Preparation didn’t stop at Chengelo either; even while we were at the university we had quiet times when we would run through our presentations as a team, perfecting them every step of the way.
The day we had been waiting for finally arrived; it was competition day. We had a healthy breakfast, said a prayer to God and were ready to face this challenge head on. Business took place first in a small classroom. Thirty competitors stood ready to battle against each other. The judges sat right at the front so eye contact was inevitable. I started off terrified but I soon remembered all the tips I was given by Mr. Chibangu, “be confident, smile and know what you are talking about”. Suddenly my 8 minutes was up but I had finished everything I had to say. My colleagues Sibeso and Natalie did an exceptional job as well. Nkosi and Tokoza who did music, sang their hearts out, letting their lovely musical talent burst through the room, persuading us all to “stop with the pollution.” The competition ended with Zambia taking home three prizes. Nkosi and Tokoza came first in music. I had come second in business and Sibeso and Natalie received third place. Through this trip and the experiences we had, I have learned that the sky is not the limit. You can achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it.
Natalie Ngosa and Sibeso
State University Of Oswego was such a warm and vibrant environment for the competition. From the first day we arrived, we were welcomed with uplifting smiles that literally made us forget about how tired we were from our travel. A team of volunteers immediately embraced us and helped as to settle in with room allocations as soon as possible while presenting us with gifts upon arrival! They offered us their own dormitories which made us feel even more welcomed, as though we were a part of them.
All through the week they indulged us in amazing meals that we couldn’t get enough and we made friendships that will last a lifetime. The hospitality from Oswego was incredible as it gave us the experience of university life at SUNY Oswego while making it feel like home.
Thokoza Thawethe and Nkosikasi
One of the highlights of the Genius Olympiad was the International Fair. It was an amazing event that brought different cultures from many countries around the world together. Representatives from different countries presented gifts and merchandise which are popular in their country and we had the pleasure of exchanging gifts with them. They then showcased cultural acts and displays which are famous in their countries. As a group, we did a Zambian traditional dance called Mao.
Other than that, there were multiple activities that took place such as ice breakers and different games which were fun & enjoyable. This gave us the chance to meet other people from the different countries that were present.
Personally, it was an extraordinary experience that allowed me to embrace completely diverse cultures of people across the globe and I am immensely grateful for it.
All in all, it was a phenomenal adventure, and I would like to thank everyone who was a part of it. I would, without a doubt, do it again!
by Christopher Chibangu