Star material, at 5

AYDIN Neighbour has represented his school in a regional public speaking contest, appeared on the ABC science program Catalyst, starred in a TV commercial broadcast across Australia, and recently came second in a national science competition.

His achievements are more than many of us could boast in a lifetime, yet Aydin is only five years old.

According to his mum, Simone Webbe, Aydin started showing signs of brilliance when he was just 18 months old.

At that age the Nashua boy could count to 20 and his parents were 'blown away' by his analytical skills. By two-and-a-half he was reading and writing.

At the age of four a casting agent persuaded the family to let Aydin audition for a Sunny Queen Eggs advertisement, a role meant for an eight-year-old.

In the middle of last year Ms Webbe and her husband, Mike Neighbour, decided to enrol Aydin at St Finbarrs Catholic School at Byron Bay, which has an accelerated learning program.

It was his teacher at St Finbarrs who sent Aydin home with information about the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Schools Prize.

For the competition he had to create a three-minute film to communicate science in an entertaining way.

Armed with a ruler and a white board, with his mum and dad behind the camera, Aydin made What ? A Mountain Blows Its Top Off?, a film about volcanoes.

He was the youngest-ever entrant to the competition.

Catalyst came to Nashua to produce a four-minute segment on Aydin, and he travelled to Sydney for the Eureka awards, known as 'the Oscars of science'. He even got to meet Adam Spencer and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

“The film was low-key but the judges loved it,” Ms Webbe said.

“This is the usual story with Aydin. He just seems normal to us but then we saw the quality of the other kids' films.”

Aydin's teacher, Sharon Boggis, said her pupil was naturally gifted and coped amazingly well in a class where the other kids were as many as three years older than him.

Ms Webbe said despite the ease with which Aydin handled his talents and mixed with older kids, as parents she and her husband worried about him just as any parents worried about their child.

“I don't know if he is destined for big things,” she said.

“I just hope he is happy and healthy. That is all any parent can ask for.”



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