Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
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The Loreto team which has qualified for the NI final of the 'Big Idea' competition - View Full Size Image
The Loreto team which has qualified for the NI final of the 'Big Idea' competition

A team from Loreto College has taken first place in the North-West heat of the Big Idea competition, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland.

Year 12 students Andrew Crozier, John Ward, Harvey Webber, Melessa Corbett, Aine Quigg and Shannon Moore impressed the judges at the event, held in Derry on 18th October 2007, with their knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurial skills.  The group had to think of an idea which could be used to help a group associated with school life, whether pupils, teachers, parents or the community.

The Loreto team came up with the idea of smart cards which could be used to sign into classes, using bar-code scanners at classroom doors.  These cards would automatically take registration, recording time of pupils’ arrival in class.  The idea was judged to be an effective one as Loreto students already have smart cards for use in the College’s canteen and Library.  The practicality of the idea hinged on its inexpensive nature and its ease of implementation.  In addition to this the scheme would help several groups associated with a school community, and would help in reducing truancy. 

At the North West event, the Loreto team won £250 for the school, as well as a range of individual prizes for the team-members themselves.  The group now progress to the Northern Ireland final, to be held in Belfast on 14th November as a centrepiece to Enterprise Week.  Before this date, the students have to develop their idea and prepare to make a presentation on it.  At the final, they will face opposition from nine rival teams in competition for a top prize of £5000 to implement their idea in school, and an all-expenses-paid trip to London.

The students and their teacher, Head of Economics Mr Gerry McGouran, were congratulated on this outstanding success and wished well for the next stage of the competition by Mr Brian Lenehan, Principal of Loreto College.