David McCourt, chairman, NBI, Ryan Tubridy, presenter and judge and Peter Hendrick, CEO, NBI, presenting prize winners; DJ Poff (age 12), Boheshill NS, Kerry; Abaigael Lockrey (age 12), Cloughfin NS, Donegal; Oscar Martin (age 8), Corlea NS, Cavan; Amelia Walsh (age 7), Our Lady’s NS, Carlow; Cooper Davis (age 8), Balinlass NS, Galway; Séarlait McManus (age 11), Kilkenny NS, Donegal; Sophie Malone (age 12), Clonmellon NS; Cormac Phelan (age 10), Our Lady’s NS, Carlow, at the NBI ‘Imagine the Future’ competition in Barretstown, Kildare. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Westmeath student among the winners at the NBI art competition

By Clodagh McKeon

A Westmeath student is among the winners at the national finals of National Broadband Ireland’s (NBI) ‘Imagine the Future’ art competition. Sophie Malone from Clonmellon NS was awarded third place in the fifth and sixth class category at the national finals, held in Barretstown fun camp in Kildare.

The competition invited students in 679 schools to create art to represent the world of possibilities that will be opened up by high-speed broadband.

Entries ranged from robot surgeons to interactive classrooms where VR headsets transport the wearer to ancient Egypt to wander around the pyramids. A key theme among the shortlisted entries was the focus on solar powered systems to reduce the use and impact of fossil fuels.

Ryan Tubridy, one of the judges at the finals, said: “I love to see the imagination of our young people at work and combining it with the world of possibility enabled by new technology led them to create some really special work.

"Each entry told a unique story and I want to congratulate them all and of course pay tribute to the hard work of their teachers in primary schools all over the country.”

NBI chairman David McCourt paid tribute to the prize winners. “Primary school students all over Ireland are already seeing the benefit of high speed fibre broadband connections in the classroom and the ‘Imagine the Future’ competitors have shown amazing creativity in representing the possibilities it opens up.

“These young artists are the leaders of the future and we can be in no doubt it is in safe hands when we see the ingenuity on display here.

“We are on track to be one of the first countries in Europe to provide high-speed broadband to 100% of the population, which is going to lead to long term economic opportunities for the children of today.”