Teacher Miguel Ángel Andreas, Ana and Sarah in Ravenna last week. / SUR

Malaga students win first prize in renewable energy competition

The girls from Platero Green School travelled to Italy last week for the final round of the pan-European project


Ana Grottick and Sarah Aranda, both 16, from Platero Green School in Malaga, along with their teacher Miguel Ángel Andreas, travelled to Ravenna in Italy last week where they picked up first prize in a pan-European renewable energy competition.

The winning entry was a four-minute video in which Ana, an accomplished pianist, plays Claude Debussy's Arabesque and repeats the word 'sea' in 20 different languages, while Sarah draws a light bulb filling up with the waves from the sea until it is full and the bulb lights up.

The girls beat five other finalists in the Artistic Expression category. The other two categories were design and video. Entrants came from Mediterranean countries including Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Albania and Croatia.

Presenting the awards, one of the judges, Dr Simone Bastianoni, a professor at the University of Siena, which is one of the universities involved in the project, said that the entries were "far beyond our expectations".

The Blue Deal for the Future International School Competition, which forms part of the European Union Interreg Mediterranean programme, aims to promote knowledge of marine renewable energies in Mediterranean countries and encourage students to get involved in future decision making.

Ana explained that a teacher from the school spotted an advertisement for the competition and showed it to her and Sarah. They were both enthusiastic about taking part and with the help of their teachers, came up with the creative video.

"The idea was to combine music, art and languages with a message about the importance of renewable and in particular tidal energy," Ana said. I chose Arabesque because to me it sounds like the waves and the sea," she added.

"I didn't expect we'd get through to the final. There were different stages, so we won in Andalucía and then went through to the final in Italy," says the Malaga student whose father is British.

As well as her passion for music and in particular the piano, Ana explains that she and her family are committed environmentalists.

"We are vegetarian and do everything we can at home to help the environment," she reveals, adding that she would like to go on to find a job related to developing renewable energies. "It's something that is really going to affect my generation."

Meeting other students

As well as the experience of winning a pan-European competition, Ana says one of the highlights of the trip was meeting teenagers from other countries who have all been part of the same experience and are all interested in environmental issues. "We met loads of people and, although we were strangers at first, we were all united through the competition," she said.

"When we went into school last Friday, they had made a big poster to congratulate us and everyone clapped when we walked in," Ana revealed, adding that her English grandmother "was really excited" when Ana called her with the news.

Interreg Mediterranean is a collaborative project involving 13 countries that are working together in the transnational European Cooperation Programme for the Mediterranean area.

The main objective of the Interreg MED Programme is to promote sustainable growth in the Mediterranean area by fostering innovative concepts and practices. It also promotes a reasonable use of resources by supporting collaborative social integration through projects run in the participating countries.