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Students shine at Young ICT Explorers Competition

Dominic Cleary, Noah Fenech and James Rush’s winning idea will hopefully
assist farmers globally to assess water quality and water storage capacity of
farm dams

A TEAM of excited students from St Columba’s School, Wilston, has again triumphed at this year’s Queensland Young ICT Explorers Competition.

It was the second year in a row the primary school has taken out the Years 4-5 category in the innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) competition for students in Years 4-12, developed by SAP Research and run in conjunction with The University of Queensland.

Year 5 students Dominic Cleary, Noah Fenech and James Rush, members of St Columba’s Electromite Club, used their ICT skills to develop a small, remote controlled catamaran that had the potential to assist farmers globally to assess water quality and water storage capacity of farm dams.

Through the early detection of deteriorating water quality or threats to water storage through silting, the global “Farmer's Friend (FF) - Atlas Mark1” would be a cost effective and time saving device that could boost farm productivity and income across the world.

The Mark1 also would be easy to navigate, particularly in tight spots, requiring minimal ICT literacy.

The trio presented their proposal to a judging panel of academia, industry partners and ICT professionals at the University of Queensland.

The competition’s alignment with the school curriculum enables students to apply what they learn in their ICT classrooms to develop a technology related project.  

These are assessed on creativity, uniqueness, quality, level of difficulty and project documentation.

Principal Martin Wilkie said the whole school community was thrilled to learn the Electromite Club had won the competition.

“With 42 projects in the Year 4-5 category alone and having been successful in 2013, I didn't think it would happen again,” he said.

“However, my understanding is that they had a very good pitch for their concept and the level of programming they managed to achieve was of a high standard.”

Dominic Cleary, who stood on the podium for the third year in a row, this time in first place, said they had learnt so much about teamwork, programing, design, and the difficulties of the global famer

He said after months and months of hard work they finally reached their goal - to make a fully functioning remote controlled catamaran to help famers test water quality and dam depth.

“And the judges loved it,” he said.

Noah said it was thrilling and exciting to hear their names called out in first place,

“We had not expected to get a place,” he said.

“We all had different parts to play in the team and we all had challenges to face, but it was all worthwhile to be awarded a win, especially considering how many wonderful entries there were in the competition.”

For James this was his first year being involved with the Young ICT Explorers.

“Standing up on the podium in front of everybody was fantastic.

“I think we definitely reached our goal and all up it was really, really fun, working with friends to build and program our boat,” he said.


Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101