Ill wind blows some good as students nail national award

Edward ScownMidwest Times
Lola Maver, Danyul Wilkes and Grady Simpson presented their design for a hydraulic roof anchor
Camera IconLola Maver, Danyul Wilkes and Grady Simpson presented their design for a hydraulic roof anchor

In the wake of cyclone Seroja, St Mary’s Primary School in Northampton held a science competition — A typical event for a school, but the winners of this one went national.

Most of the students based their ideas around cyclone recovery and damage prevention, as many of them had homes damaged in the storm.

Year 3 students Lola Maver, Danyul Wilkes and Grady Simpson presented an idea to keep houses intact during storms like the one that hit in April.

They proposed a system of hydraulic arms which could be switched on, holding the roof down as it was battered by a cyclone.

“They had to use a huge amount of skills. They had to make the model, video-editing skills, science, and language skills to present the ideas,” principal Ben Will said. “Out of a terrible weather event that affected Northampton so badly, our kids are still looking to innovate.”

The kids won their school challenge, and were sent to an interschool competition at Nagle Catholic College, gathering all Catholic schools in the Mid West.

Once they anchored that win down, it was time to go national. The Catholic Network Australia STEM Making A Difference awards brought together every Catholic school in Australia. Entrants sent in 31/2-minute videos to be shown and judged live.

“It was live streamed, so the kids had it on all morning. When they won, they were all cheering,” Mr Will said.

He hopes the win will show his students they can succeed beyond the bounds of their small home town.

“We’re a small town, and we’re a small school,” he said. “We wanted to show them that their ideas aren’t just good here, they’re good across the country.”

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