Sunday 12 July, 2020

Mount Alvernia High wins Scotiabank innovation challenge

Mount Alvernia proposed an “Electronic Money Management Assistant”, referred to as ‘EMMA’ that would be powered by artificial intelligence and used to assist all e-banking users including the elderly to complete transactions.

Mount Alvernia proposed an “Electronic Money Management Assistant”, referred to as ‘EMMA’ that would be powered by artificial intelligence and used to assist all e-banking users including the elderly to complete transactions.

A team of five students from the Mount Alvernia High School were named champions of the 5th annual Scotiabank National Innovation Camp 2020 coordinated by Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) on June 11.

During the competition, which was hosted online, 21 teams of high school students from 14 schools, including Mount Alvernia presented their ideas based on the 2020 challenge theme of “The use of technology to solve the issue of social distancing at banks due to COVID-19”.

The other Montego Bay-based high school, the Heinz Simonitsch School placed second followed by the York Castle High School from St Ann took third place ahead of 18 other teams.

Mount Alvernia proposed an “Electronic Money Management Assistant”, referred to as ‘EMMA’ that would be powered by artificial intelligence and used to assist all e-banking users including the elderly to complete transactions.

Decoda Sterling, captain of the winning team of students explained that the project required several hours of research and planning.

“We were aiming to creating a realistic solution that could possibly and positively impact the way that we do banking in Jamaica,” the 15-year-old shared.

A screenshot of the presentation submitted by the winning team from Mount Alvernia High School demonstrating how their proposed virtual assistant called “EMMA” would assist persons to use the Scotiabank online banking system.

Commenting on the initiative, Yanique Forbes-Patrick, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications expressed congratulations to the winning team and all the participants.

 “We were extremely impressed with the level of thoughtfulness, research and attention to detail displayed by all the teams. The judges were also particularly impressed by the team from Mount Alvernia who displayed grit and strong critical thinking skills in the development of the idea presented. “Every year Scotiabank is proud to support the work of Junior Achievement and its focus on innovation and entrepreneurial awareness among students.” Forbes-Patrick highlighted.

Alphie Mullings-Aiken, President of Junior Achievement Jamaica shared the annual National Innovation Camp provides an opportunity to gain insight and ideas from Jamaica’s youngest and most promising minds about how they see the future. “We are grateful for Scotiabank’s continued investment in Junior Achievement which seeks to unearth the talents and promote innovativeness in our youth,” Mullings-Aiken said.

“This was a new experience for all of us and as an entity that engages with students on a regular basis. However, the schools’ willingness to move online has opened up a world of new possibilities for us as organizers, the students and our facilitators,’ highlighted Simone Townsend, Programme Manager for Junior Achievement Jamaica who commended the students and the teachers who prepared them despite the displacement caused by COVID-19.

The other participating schools included the Roger Clarke High School, Vaux Hall High School, Titchfield High School, Westwood High School, Morant Bay High School, Knox College, Cedar Grove Academy, The Queens School, Port Antonio High School, Johnathon Grant High School and the Rhodes Hall High School. Schools were allowed to enter multiple teams.

Students from all competing schools were also exposed to the Scotiabank’s ‘Road to Success’ Financial Literacy Programme -aimed at raising awareness among youth about the importance of managing their finances, and to have clear professional goals, interests and values. The Innovation Camp is one element of that programme.

The programme has been rolled out in 16 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean and has had an impact on the lives of thousands of students.

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