Over 5,500 pupils from schools across Northern Ireland and 13 schools in the South took part in a recent Maths Challenge in aid of the Latin American Street Children Organisation (LASCO) – the Derry-based charity which raises money to provide food, clothes and education programmes for Latin American street children.
The LASCO Maths Challenge, which is believed to be the biggest challenge of its kind on the island of Ireland, was run in partnership with C2k (Classroom 2000) and HP using its Learning NI virtual learning platform and saw pupils from almost 80 primary and secondary schools collaborate to discuss and form strategies to solve mathematical problems.
The challenge included four separate competitions, each aimed at different age groups and abilities, which were won by St Joseph’s Grammar School in Donaghmore, Antrim Grammar School, Broadbridge Primary School in Derry and Scoil Iosagain in Buncranna, Co Donegal.
According to Franz Schlindwein, Director of the LASCO Maths Challenge and Head of Mathematics at St Peter’s High School in Derry, the money raised from this year’s Challenge will enable LASCO to support an education and healthcare project in Peru.
“Every pupil taking part in the Challenge contributed £1 in aid of LASCO, so we raised over £5,500 and this will be used to support the St Bernadette Centre and Home in Lima, Peru, where street children can safely spend their time in a caring atmosphere, where their talents can be discovered and developed, their schoolwork can be developed and they can generally be children and enjoy their childhood.
“The centre has an average weekly attendance of around 600 children, but this often rises to several thousand due to its open door policy. Participation in this year’s Challenge was a lot higher than last year and it is my ambition to continue growing the Challenge in the coming years to a level where it can essentially take responsibility for sustaining the Lima project or something similar.
“On behalf of LASCO I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participating schools and to congratulate our four winners, who will be presented with trophies this week. This year’s Challenge was also greatly enhanced by the Learning NI platform and our thanks must go to C2k and HP for their support in facilitating this.”
C2k Director Jimmy Stuart said: “The success of the LASCO Maths Challenge demonstrates a hunger for an exciting, interactive approach to education in our primary and secondary schools, and the Learning NI platform, which is available to all schools in Northern Ireland, is just one example of how this can be facilitated.
“By using innovative technology, we can enhance our children’s education, opening doors and providing invaluable opportunities for them to experience the world and collaborate and work together with other children from different backgrounds and locations.
“C2k, in partnership with HP, is delighted to have supported such a fantastic project and such a very worthy cause in LASCO.”