WINNERS: St John’s College Woodlawn students (from back left) Jaye Beardow, Jack Oates, Paris Mordecai, Lucy Cornwell, teacher Catherine Graham-Smith, (front left) Claudia Calvin, Marnie Ball, and Isaac Peachey won the Tournament of Minds competition in Canberra.
WINNERS: St John’s College Woodlawn students (from back left) Jaye Beardow, Jack Oates, Paris Mordecai, Lucy Cornwell, teacher Catherine Graham-Smith, (front left) Claudia Calvin, Marnie Ball, and Isaac Peachey won the Tournament of Minds competition in Canberra. Doug Eaton

St John’s Woodlawn claims win in tournament of the minds

TOURNAMENT of the Minds is not just for "nerds", say the students from St John's College at Woodlawn who last weekend won the Australasian finals in Canberra.

The team of seven from Year 7 to 10 competed in the social sciences category against eight other groups from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Locked in a room for three hours, they were asked to create a 10-minute answer to an imaginary problem.

The problem asked them to imagine five objects found in a time capsule from 1913, which would somehow influence society a century later.

Using the theme of modern attitudes to refugees, they crafted a scenario where the imaginary objects were dug up from an old refugee detention centre.

The relics - a butterfly, star, mask, needle, mirror - were chosen to represent "the way that the refugees lived and the hope they had for the future," Year 10 student Jack Oates said.

Their symbolic approach to answering the question, which also had to be performed with acting and dance, helped impress the judging panel.

Jack Oates and Paris Mordecai, both in Year 10, have involved themselves in the annual competition since Year 5 and their experience helped steer the team. Paris said Tournament of the Minds was about more than just brainpower.

"People don't really understand how beneficial Tournament if Minds is. They see it as a nerdy activity whereas in fact it's so much more.

"We've learnt how to use the creative side of our brain while working under pressure, and being able to come out of our shell."

Jack said: "The life skills that this competition can bring you are really important.

"Once you get that mindset, I believe it will set you up for life."

Next year the students plan to become judges or facilitators of the competition.

"It felt like it was a bit of fairy tale finish to our TOM career - we were definitely over the moon," Paris said.



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