Students from St Johns College, Woodlawn, hold up their medals at the State Tournament of the Mines competition.
Students from St Johns College, Woodlawn, hold up their medals at the State Tournament of the Mines competition. JERAD WILLIAMS

St Johns College win at TOM

STUDENTS from St John’s College, Woodlawn, have cleaned up the competition in a hotly contested State tournament.

In fact the eager achievers have managed to do something that principal Glenn Roff believes hasn’t been done by any other school in NSW before.

“They have won two categories and received honours in a third in the State finals of the Tournament of Minds (TOM),” he said.

They will now go to Darwin to compete in the Australasian Pacific Final on October 23.

The TOM is a problem solving program for teams of students from both primary and secondary years.

In order to compete against other schools in the State, they are required to solve demanding, open-ended challenges in one of four categories – Applied Technology, Literature, Maths Engineering and Social Science.

Teams of seven members work together on a long-term challenge for six weeks, without help from teachers, parents or peers, and present their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience on Tournament Day.

They are also asked to take part in a Spontaneous Challenge during the competition.

Mr Roff said the students’ wins, as part of three teams of seven members, were “an extraordinary achievement”.

He said the groups, that included members from age 13 to 16 years, had spent weeks practicing for the tournament and, in some cases, had competed in TOM events for six consecutive years.

“It’s a really healthy culture where students and teachers support each other,” he said.

“We’ve also been fortunate enough to have advice on structure and criteria from the regional co-ordinator of TOM, Dennis Thomson.”

Rachel Farrington, 15, of Modenville described the competition the students faced as “pretty intense” while Jessica Spence, 16, of Lismore, said improvised games pre-judging helped them calm their serves and Marian Joseph, 16, of Wollumbar, said she said a prayer before the competition.



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