Today the first annual "My Virtual City" competition was held at the Princess Hotel and Casino. 8 teams from 6 schools designed and built models of futuristic cities, addressing social issues such as poverty, crime, health and pollution.

It was an all-day event, in which the students displayed and presented on their projects. The competition was guided by the theme "Designing our Future! Mobilizing People for Change!" , and it was done using hi tech mapping and planning software.

It was divided into 2 segments - a junior segment and a senior segment- and during the award ceremony that followed, the winners were beaming, and one was so overwhelmed by it all he was even moved to tears.

Max McField - Junior 1st Place Winner, BES
"I am representing all of us, and I just want to say thank you to the GIS, Ms. Catherina, Ms. Loretta, and especially Mr. Andrew, who went to a lot of practices with. We really couldn't do it without him. I really just want to say thank you for all of this for renting the Princess and everything. I really thought we were not going to make it, so we worked really hard. And at the end, when they were giving out some award on best use of GIS, and when we didn't get any, I thought that this wasn't looking good. At the end, I was shocked. It's a major honor, and it feels really good to us to have been going through all this, and then at the end come in at the top."

Chloe Kelly - Junior 1st Place, BES
"It's amazing, and it's worth all that working hard, and staying up. It's very worth it what all we have done."

Robin Schaffer
"So can you describe your project for me?"

Chloe Kelly
"It's an eco-friendly city that has many job opportunities, and has sustainable energy, which uses solar. And if something happens to solar energy, we have a back up, which is windmill power."

William Mahler - 1st Place Senior Winner, CCC
"Well, terra nova, a city of opportunities, built in such a way that all of you are invited, Thank you."

Phillip Gongora - 1st Place Senior Winner, CCC
"We feel happy and so excited because we worked so hard, and all this time we dedicated toward this competition, we feel ecstatic that we actually won."

William Mahler
"It's a feeling that cannot be expressed. Our city is basically founded upon education and also not excluding our history, so a city of opportunities, Terra Nova."

Robin Schaffer
"How did you get that name?"

William Mahler
"Well, it's a long story. Basically, it means new land, and we wanted things to be new. So that's how we came up with the name"

Phillip Gongora
"The Mestizo culture would say 'tierra nueva', so it's from that."

Robin Schaffer
"So how much hours did you put into it?"

Phillip Gongora
"A lot of hours."

William Mahler
"Nights, Days, sleepless nights. You can see it in our eyes that we are tired."

Phillip Gongora
"Last night was a sleepless one."

Brandon Bennett - 2nd Place Winner, New Horizon
"Well, Arcadia is an eco-friendly, technology-based city, which is very safe and economic, and hopes to improve Belize."

Robin Schaffer
"How did it feel to come in second?"

Brandon Bennett
"Well, it was a great relief because sometimes we had sleepless nights, working on the model, sleepless nights working on the virtual city. To tell you the truth, it was crunch time because actually thought that we couldn't finish. It was a great relief. Now we can finally go to sleep."

Osean Hyde - 2nd Place Winner, New Horizon
"We were trying so hard to win. We almost quit. We were so close to quitting, and we finally said that we couldn't allow anyone else to win. We did it and we won."

Prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were laptop computers, smart phones and ipods, respectively.

Channel 7