Synergy Schools Solar Challenge sparks into action


Parliamentary Secretary Reece Whitby with year 8 students Tamsin Dewar, Riley Wills, Angus Hamilton and Karl Pegler. Picture: Martin Kennealey d480572
Parliamentary Secretary Reece Whitby with year 8 students Tamsin Dewar, Riley Wills, Angus Hamilton and Karl Pegler. Picture: Martin Kennealey d480572

THE Synergy Schools Solar Challenge sparked into action this week, with more than 1000 WA students expected to take part in coming weeks.

Parliamentary Secretary Reece Whitby, representing Energy Minister Ben Wyatt, attended the launch at Warwick Senior High School on March 14.

The joint initiative between Synergy and Science Teachers Association of WA (STAWA) encourages Year 6 and 8 students to build and race model solar-powered cars.

The program encourages students to study science, technology, engineering and maths, known collectively as Stem subjects.

More than 1000 students from around Perth and the South-West will take part in a major initiative that teachers believe will ignite students’ excitement about learning science at school.

Year 8 students Angus Hamilton and Riley Wills. Picture: Martin Kennealey

Synergy chief executive Jason Waters said the challenge was an excellent way to get students excited about science while educating them about the benefits of solar and renewable energy.

STAWA chief executive John Clarke said given many jobs of the future are going to be technology based, the association was trying to address the problem of a declining interest in Stem subjects.

“A Federal Government report has highlighted the extent of the risk to Australia’s capacity to compete for thousands of jobs in the next decade as more industries become automated,” he said.

“The key to addressing what is going to be a global employment problem is having sufficient numbers of kids right now choosing to study Stem subjects.”

The regional semi-final will be at Newton Moore Senior High School in Bunbury on March 20, with a southern suburbs semi-final planned at Rossmoyne SHS on March 22.

The Hills east semi-final will take place at Mazenod College in Lesmurdie on March 27 and the northern suburbs semi-final will be at Warwick SHS on March 28.

There will also be a western suburbs semi-final at Newman College in Churchlands on April 5 before the grand final takes place at Optus Stadium on April 10.

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