Newstead Primary harvests victory at 2018 LASCO REAP Awards

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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Newstead Primary School has bagged the 2017-2018 LASCO Releaf Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP) competition, taking home 10 brand-new computers and a $100,000 cash prize for its effort.

The announcement was made during the annual awards ceremony last Thursday, June 7, at the Jamaica Pegasus.

In addition to the top prize, the school, located in the parish of St Mary, won the LASCO iCool Award for Most Plastic Bottles Collected with a total of 132,083 PET bottles.

Bath Primary and Junior High, located in St Thomas, retained second place in the competition followed by last year's winner, Fort George Primary and Infant school from St Ann.

Bath Primary was awarded a Smart TV and DVD player, while Fort George received a projector and screen. Fort George also won the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation Award for Most Trees Planted — 3,001 — and received a $100,000 cash prize.

Highgate Primary won the Walkerswood Prize for Best National Garden, earning them a cash prize of $50,000 and a 650-gallon water tank courtesy of Rototech.

Thursday's awards marked the culmination of LASCO REAP's sixth year, which was executed under the theme 'Rooting for Nature', and coincided with Environment Week in Jamaica, which was built around two international observances: World Environment Day, on June 5 and World Oceans Day on June 8.

Stephen Newland, founder and project director, believes that by engaging students in advancing and promoting environmental awareness and good environmental practices, sustainable habits will eventually become a norm in Jamaica.

“Being eco-friendly is becoming increasingly more important. Engaging our students in eco-friendly activities from an early stage is even more important. Children are the future, so if we can show them the importance of good environmental practices now, it will no doubt become a part of Jamaica's future,” Newman said Thursday.

For his part, Lascelles Chin, chairman and founder of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, which sponsors the competition, said society needs to adopt the habits REAP is inculcating.

“REAP is playing a vital role in developing environmentally responsible habits in our young people; habits every citizen of the world should practise. We must each play our part, no matter how small; and stop waiting on governments and international legislation to fix the problem,” Chin argued.

Over the last six years, LASCO REAP has engaged over 500 schools in its quest to preserve and protect Jamaica's environment. The competition has also encouraged over 200 schools to begin gardening projects.

Established in 2012, the competition seeks to increase participation in sustainable environmental practices, including tree planting, recycling, energy conservation and well-kept school and community environs.

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