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Bright minds


Inquiring minds at St Thomas School Goodwood have contributed to some outstanding results in several competitions held recently.

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Up against more than 100 schools around the State, St Thomas was named overall second placegetter in the prestigious SA Oliphant Science Awards presented last month.

Two students from the school were also winners in their categories, with Max Vella from Year 3 taking first prize for his submission on worm tea. Max investigated if radishes grew better if they were watered with ‘worm wee’ made from fruit or vegetables.

As he explained in his report, ‘Worm wee has lots of vitamins and is good for plants. I got the idea (for the project) because our school has a worm farm and sells worm wee to my Mum’.

Callum Mwate received second prize for his project on ‘eDNA – the future of conservation’, and five other students were highly commended.

Adding to the school’s recent successes, one of its six teams competing in the annual Tournament of Minds competition was named first in the STEM division and competed at the international final held in Melbourne in October.

According to St Thomas’ principal Belinda Burford, the team under the guidance of teacher Laura Donnellan as their facilitator, did an “incredible job” in their three-hour challenge to design a prototype of an object that could move and transport an article from A to B using a mechanism that could release it into a container.

“The STEM team demonstrated incredible teamwork, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and innovative and creative thinking,” Ms Burford said.

In other successes at the school this year, three students won first place in their categories of the Young Writers Awards run by the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, with their award-winning work being published in a journal. Another student was successful in taking home the Max Fatchen Literary award on poetry.

Six teams from St Thomas competed in the 2023 Debating SA competition, with many students receiving speaker of the night awards and one team making it to the semi-finals.

St Thomas School has also been named a certified visible learning school by Corwin, an international provider of professional learning products and services. The award recognises the school’s ‘strong teaching and learning practice and commitment to student achievement’.

Members of one of the debating teams from left, Arsam Moradkhani, Oscar Raidel, Callum Mwate and Brodie Anderson.

SA Young Writers Award winners from left Mira Joen, Ruby Budimir and Alfie Jarvis.

Max Vella with principal Belinda Burford at the presentation of the Oliphant Science Awards.

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