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Scientists of the future in Bunbury for national final

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
BCGS team member Johann Scholtz holds his breath as his team's bridge flexes under the weight of the bridge buster.
Camera IconBCGS team member Johann Scholtz holds his breath as his team's bridge flexes under the weight of the bridge buster. Credit: South Western Times, Callum Hunter

The country’s best young scientific minds went head to head in Bunbury last week at the national final of the 2019 Science and Engineering Challenge.

Flying the home town flag was local favourite Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, which had qualified third outright for the competition ahead of Mandurah Baptist College, the only other WA team to make the final.

Organised and run by the University of Newcastle, this was the first time the final had been hosted in WA.

“The 2019 Science and Engineering Challenge national final represents the culmination of one of the largest and most successful annual STEM engagement programs across Australia,” senior team leader Peter Fullagar said.

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“The students have done one of eight different activities ranging from design-build related activities through to more cognitive focused activities where they have to transmit messages using pulses of light over an optical fibre.”

While the students went into the challenge as home town favourites and hoped to replicate their stellar qualifying performance, it was not to be as the school finished eighth out of eight, more than 600 points behind the overall winner James Ruse Agricultural high School.

“Well, we’re top eight in the country so I reckon that’s pretty good,” BCGS student Aleisha Thivy said.

“It was all really fun and I hope we can do it all again next year.”

Aleisha’s teammates Ross Paoliello and Johann Scholtz said they were proud the team “gave it a red hot go”.

“It’s been a great experience and definitely made me more interested in science and engineering,” Ross said.

BCGS science teacher Sharon Millington said the students made her proud and they should be happy with their performances.

“They worked really well as a team,” she said.

“We came second in a number of activities and they just kept going and going.”

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