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GeoTrail Blazers charge into finals

lnaugural "reality" format in SPH Geography Challenge enriching for students

March 5, 2002 - The competition got hot in the semi-finals of the SPH Geography Challenge when the organisers caught the wave of "reality" TV shows to introduce "GeoTrail". After a seven-hour geography trail to all corners of Singapore, the finals of SPH Geography Challenge 2002 will see two new contending teams from Anglican High School and Anglo-Chinese School challenge finals veteran and defending champion Raffles Institution. The four-men GeoTrail Blazers from Anglican High School also took top spot in the GeoTrail round to enter the finals of the Challenge.

Organised by the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS) and NUS Geographical Society, the GeoTrail round in the semi-finals of the SPH Geography Challenge created a platform for students to take their textbook knowledge to the streets for real life application and to engage the public.

"We hope to show students through the SPH Geography Challenge, particularly the GeoTrail segment, that knowledge attainment is not confined to books but to the excitement of reading the landscape through a field-orientated treasure hunt," said Associate Professor Victor Savage, Head of Department of Geography, NUS.

This year’s SPH Geography Challenge recorded many firsts. Apart from the introduction of GeoTrail, the organisers have also tweaked the format of the finals to be held this Saturday, March 9, at 9am at the Suntec City Auditorium, to encourage creativity among finalists and audience participation.

The teams will need to go through five rounds, which will include a presentation round where, for the first time, they will present to some 600 people in the audience their GeoTrail experience through a medium of their choice, whether video, skit or multimedia presentation. Another first is audience participation in judging. The audience will cast their vote on the winning team for the presentation round, to be tabulated with the judges’ votes. Also new to the finals and to add excitement to the event, team supporters in the audience can help the team of their choice score by answering geography questions.

"As part of our effort to foster community spirit, we hope to bring about a useful sharing of geographical knowledge with the wider community here through the SPH Geography Challenge," said Mr Wee Leong How, Executive Vice President, Human Resources & Corporate Relations, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH).

A total of 70 teams from secondary schools registered for the SPH Geography Challenge 2002. Sixteen schools came through the preliminary round to enter the semi-finals or GeoTrail round. During the GeoTrail round, students had to visit at least one checkpoint each in the north, south, east and west of Singapore. They also had to visit another two checkpoints of their choice in order to qualify for the finals. At each checkpoint, they were given a set of questions on specific sites, current affairs and national education or required to participate in interactive activities with the public. The GeoTrail Blazers gave away a commemorative button badge to every member of the public that they came into contact with during the GeoTrail. The scores for each team were determined by the number of correct answers submitted at each checkpoint.

The SPH Geography Challenge is into its sixth year with SPH as the event’s main sponsor. The National Geographic Channel is the co-sponsor of SPH Geography Challenge 2002, which is supported by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environment, Singapore Environment Council and Geography Teachers’ Association of Singapore.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited.

Journalists, photographers and camera crew are invited to join the students at the finals this Saturday. For more information, please contact:

Esther Low
Corporate Communications
Tel 3191280

Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It is licensed to publish 11 newspapers in the four official languages and seven lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, SPH newspapers reach 2.82 million individuals or 90 percent of persons above 12 years old in Singapore while online publication of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and in less than one month, Channel U, its Chinese TV channel, became the second most-watched free-to-air channel in Singapore.