Patrician Bros reach for the stars and beyond!

Patrician Brothers Stars 1
The winning Patrician Brothers’ College Team, Front Row (L to R) Aidan Villadolid (Y12), Jordan Pazdjara (Y12), George Ziada (Y11) Back Row (L to R) Ralph Hernandez (Y10), Aryan Lal (Y12), Benjamin Cooper (Y11), Pinak Sharma (Y12), Jason Kumar (Y12), Shivanesh Kumar (Y11), Dev Saldanha (Y12), Karan Mehta (Y12), Varun Satheesh (Y12)

A team of a dozen students and teachers from Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown have taken home top honours in the national finals of the Australian Space Design Competition at the University of Queensland this school holidays.

While everyone was enjoying a break from school, 12 dedicated students were joined by their teachers Chris Hersey, Chris Ferry and Paul Kenyon at the national finals in January to show their ingenuity in designing a space settlement for 600 people to clear the debris orbiting the earth.

Also competing against Patrician Brothers’ were a combined team of Parramatta Marist High and Catherine McAuley College Westmead students. This year marked their debut in the competition and from all accounts they hope to have a team to compete again.

Patrician Brothers Stars 2
(The combined teams from Catherine McAuley College and Parramatta Marist who also competed for the first time at the Australian Space Design Competition)

Patrician Brothers’ Principal Santo Passarello said the competition aimed to further develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills for Year 9 to 12 students in an environment which recreates a real world aerospace company. “It provides the challenges of working in a diverse environment where communication and interpersonal skills are essential in a high pressure environment," Mr Passarello said.

A stand-out student was Jordan Pazdjara who was recognised for his leadership skills throughout the competition and given the ‘Dick Edwards Silent Leadership Award’.

Jordan said he never knew embarking on such a stressful experience would be so enjoyable. “The life lessons I’ve been taught and I have experienced during the competition are invaluable," he said.

“I definitely have improved in managing tasks and communicating with others. Our team has grown closer together and is ready for the USA," Jordan said.

Patrician Brothers Stars 3
(Shivanesh Kumar, Year 11, from Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown discusses with fellow teammates their preliminary design)

Fellow team mate Jason Kumar said before the competition he believed people such as Elon Musk and the school’s high achievers were superhuman and “gifted”. “I’ve learned it is not the smartest people who win, it is the people who are consistent and determined who reach their goal and aim for the stars and beyond," Jason said.

To qualify for the finals, the students spent five months developing a tender submission for a settlement of 450 people to explore Europa, an ice covered moon of Jupiter. Patrician Brothers’ team produced a detailed 87 page document which was judged to be in the top five submissions in Australia by Space Design Competitions Australia organisation.

Patrician Brothers teacher Chris Ferry said the competition fosters a love of learning in students.

“As a science teacher, it showed our students the value of STEM and was a true test of their creativity, intelligence, problem-solving, resilience and especially communication skills. I’m very proud of our young men who defied the odds to not only make the finals but to win the national competition in their first year entered," Mr Ferry said.

Having won the finals, the students now have the opportunity to travel to the NASA Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, to compete in the International Space Settlement Design Competition in July 2019.

The students will form a team of 60 with five other schools from around the world to design another space settlement over three days. Fundraising now begins for this exciting opportunity.

Posted By CathEd Parra at 4/02/2019 3:36:35 PM

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