Rwamagana-based Cornerstone Leadership Academy has won the 9th annual national science fair competition that pits secondary school students.
Cornerstone beat eight other schools to the top spot during a grand finale held at Hilltop Hotel in Kigali, on Tuesday, June 8.
Three students represented each of the participating schools in pitching innovative projects, with the winning team's pitch about making cooking gas using paraffin as a source of fuel.
As Divine Douce Ineza, Racine Beniet Christian and Noblesse Ushindi, who were the winning team, approached the stage, they were full of excitement.
"We would like to realise this product and actually put it on the market," said Christian.
When asked what is going to be next, Ineza shrugged and said, "They didn't tell us if they are going to sponsor our project. So, we are still figuring it out."
The schools that made it to the finals include Groupe Officiel de Butare (Huye), Saint Mary High School (Huye), Ecole Secondaire Saint Vincent Muhoza (Musanze), Stella Matutina (Rulindo), Cornerstone Leadership Academy (Rwamagana), GS Rambura Filles (Nyabihu), Kayonza Modern School (Kayonza), and GS St Pierre Nkombo (Rusizi).
Cornerstone, GS St Pierre Nkombo, Kayonza Modern, and Rambura Fille made the top four in that order.
Forty-eight schools participated in this year's science fair competition, which was organised by the National Examination and School Inspection Authority (NESA).
"This science competition helps students to develop their skills in research, innovation, creativity, and critical thinking," said Bernard Bahati, the Director-General of NESA.
He added that such competitions also help students to demonstrate what they have learned in school and how they can bring it to life in the form or projects.
"All schools that made it this far had exceptional projects, this is a very good practice for our students who are in secondary school," said Theobald Nizeyimana, one of the teachers present.
Participating students from top four schools with best projects received different awards, including Laptops, 8 GB Flash disks, Bags, and Certificates.
All students that made it to the national level (final) also received certificates.
"This is a valuable experience you just received, but after this, you have to do more research about it and correct what the judges mentioned to make your project ideas successfully applicable," said Bahati.
He added that NESA would soon engage different stakeholders to ensure that the ideas pitched during the annual student science contest are ultimately implemented.