IT was all cheers and tears of joy when SM Imtiaz Yayasan Terengganu Kemaman was named champion of Yayasan Petronas’ All About Youth (AAY) 2019 competition-based programme.
After 11 weeks of hard work, the event was an exhilarating culmination for participating students from the school.
The winners were among 1, 000 students who participated in the competition this year.
Fifty secondary schools in five states – Johor, Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu – competed in AAY 2019. Each team received RM1, 000 seed funding, a technology toolbox worth RM1, 250 and mentoring by Petronas volunteer “buddies” to develop their project over 11 weeks.
State finalists – consisting of students in Forms Two and Four – from the five states presented environmental solutions based on the theme “Reducing Carbon Emissions for a Better Future”.
Lead presenter Nur Farah Ismahani Mohd Faizal, Form Four, from SM Imtiaz Yayasan Terengganu Kemaman expressed her excitement saying: “Honestly, we cannot believe it! We’re excited and thankful because our efforts paid off.”
Participants from the school won judges over during the final round held at the Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC), Melaka, with their project titled “CO2NCER”, bagging the prize money of RM20, 000. “CO2NCER” is a detection and warning system to prevent the spread of forest fire.
Another lead presenter from the school Muhammad Hilmi Mohd Nazi, Form Four, explained that the area surrounding SM Imtiaz Yayasan Terengganu Kemaman is a hotspot for forest fires.
“We feel the need to address this threat. By working with the fire brigade, we have come up with a solution to make it easier for them to detect fires early.”
An aspiring businessman, Muhammad Hilmi said that the programme has lent him some experience in cost management and budgeting, as well as confidence building when presenting in public.
“We learned a lot from working with each other. Students in our team are from different classes. We also get to interact with people outside the school. We also would not be champions without the help of our teachers and Petronas buddies, ” he added.
Apart from uncovering the hidden talent among her schoolmates, Nur Farah said that the competition helped them develop beyond what most would at her age.
“We are only in secondary school but we are already learning how to collaborate with people outside the school and how to work with the community. It’s a good experience.
“Right now, we are trying to register the intellectual rights to our device with the help of Yayasan Petronas. Hopefully, we can make it available nationwide, ” she said.
SMK Tebobon, Sabah, was announced as the first runner-up, taking home RM10, 000, while SMK Tun Habab, Johor, is the second runner-up, clinching a prize of RM5, 000. SMK St Francis, Melaka, and SMK Asyakirin, Sarawak, were awarded with consolation prizes.
However, this national finals is not the end for the five teams as they will be taking their project to the Chairman Circle level in December which offers a grand prize of RM30, 000. Projects selected for this level are those considered most ready for commercialisation.
Yayasan Petronas CEO Lita Osman, who was part of the panel of judges, said that the AAY is in line with the three pillars of Yayasan Petronas - education, community well-being and development as well as education.
“Petronas aims to improve students’ performance in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students solve problems while helping the community, and the theme of reducing carbon also extends on Petronas’ efforts in sustainability.
She also said that the number of volunteer staff increases as years go by.
“They show a high level of commitment, spending a lot of their time mentoring students on technicalities of their project.”
Since 2014, more than 200 schools and 4, 600 students have been involved in the AAY programme. More than 150 Petronas volunteers have nurtured, tutored and motivated participants.
AAY is also aimed at supporting the Government’s 60:40 target ratio of STEM enrolment as well as the country’s aspiration to reduce carbon emissions.
At the AAY award ceremony, the Education Ministry’s Educational Planning and Research Division director Dr Ahmad Rafee Che Kassim said youths today will face the more severe impact of climate change and yet also stand to benefit from the technology revolution as a result of the issue.
“I am heartened to note that the students participating in AAY have embraced the seriousness of the issue and have developed viable solutions to benefit their community. This should propel them to take the lead in climate action locally, nationally and globally as we shape a more sustainable future, ” he said.
Also present at the event was a winner of the previous AAY programme Muhammad Anis Firdausi Hazmi. He was awarded a scholarship to study chemical engineering in Britain under the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP).
He said joining the AAY was what led him to the scholarship.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that joining AAY would bring me to the UK!”
He recounted his experience joining the programme.
“Before entering the competition, I didn’t know anything about Petronas apart from the fact that they had petrol stations. The AAY programme gave me a brief glimpse of what it’s like to work with Petronas.
“I then learnt about the PESP. Facilitators from Petronas kept in touch with me and encouraged me to apply for it. I already feel a sense of belonging at Petronas and I can’t wait to finish my studies and join the company, ” he said.
Back then, many of his friends did not join because they thought it was a waste of time. “But after joining, I learnt that every opportunity matters. If you have an opportunity, grab it because you don’t know where it will lead you, ” he added.