Eight curious and dedicated Year 5 students from St Therese Catholic Primary School, West Wollongong have been awarded the title of Illawarra NSW Regional winners of the annual Da Vinci Decathlon competition.
Held at Illawarra Christian School, the team consisting of Isaiah Barila, Annabelle Dellis, Fabian Gaudiosi, Maddison Newell-Glaser, Jude Kiley, Madeleine Towers, Jack Thompson, and Samantha Meracdo, competed against over 100 state, private, and other Catholic schools from the Southern Highlands, Illawarra and South Coast to take out the honour.
Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, the decathlon is an international academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students through higher-order thinking skills, problem solving, and creativity.
Students competed in teams of eight across 10 disciplines, which included Engineering, Mathematics and Chess, Codebreaking, Art and Poetry, Science, English, Ideation, Creative Producers, Cartography, and Legacy.
The dedicated students chosen for their strengths and talents in one or more of the disciplines, met weekly for team building exercises, working through past papers, and conducting independent research, to achieve this outstanding result.
Year 5 students Maddison Newell-Glazer and Isiah Barila both enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to expand their knowledge and thinking.
“The experience was amazing,” said Maddison. “My peers and I thought it was challenging, but also very exciting.”
“This interactive learning experience pushed our creativity, cooperation, and overall ability to think outside the box with our peers. It was fun to discover what unusual tasks we were given, and what innovative answer we could respond with” - Isiah Barila
Each winning regional team had the honour of participating in the national competition in May, which was held via Zoom due to COVID restrictions. While they did not place, Carol Hiscox, St Therese da Vinci Decathlon Team Coordinator, said the students had done their school community proud.
“Over the last five years St. Therese has entered teams from Years 5 and 6 and has experienced great success in some of the disciplines,” said Mrs Hiscox. “We’re extremely proud of their achievements in both the regional and the national competition and although they did not place, we commend their dedication, resilience and team spirit.”
We congratulate the dedicated students and teachers at St Therese on their success and look forward to hearing the outcome of next year’s event.