Seven students from MacKillop College are on cloud nine after taking out the top spot at the Tournament of Minds (TOM) International Finals.
The team was crowned the TOM STEM Champions on October 16 after progressing through the regional and state levels of the competition.
MacKillop College enrichment coordinator Mandy Palin said this is a first for the school.
"MacKillop College has been involved in TOM for a number of years and teams have reached the state level and have taken out second place three times, but this is the first time a group of students have won the international stage of the competition," she said.
The group was composed of Year 7 students Jess Miles and Catalina Toth, Year 8 students Milly McGrath and Molly Bridle and Year 10 students Tia McGrath, Elliott Worner and Georgia Ryan.
The seven students started working together for the competition in Term 3 this year before lockdown complicated their preparation.
"When we went into lockdown, we didn't know whether the competition would go ahead. When we found out that it would still be going ahead virtually, that's when we started having Zoom meetings to prepare," Tia said.
The STEM category of the competition requires students to work on a long-term challenge which asks them to solve a problem by making a model as well as a spontaneous challenge which they respond to on the day of the competition.
"All of the students worked really well together and put in a lot of their own time leading up to the competition," Ms Palin said.
"They constantly had to adapt because of COVID restrictions and they showed some great teamwork and leadership skills."
The TOM requires teams to consist of no more than four students from any year level as well as including a minimum of two students from Year 7.
"It was really good to work with the other students in our group. We all had our place in the group and contributed," Elliot said.
"It was nice to get to know students from different year levels."
Tia agreed and said the competition helped each of them form connections with each other.
"We weren't in the same friendship groups before this so it was nice to get to know each other."
After many lunchtimes spent preparing for the competition, the students said they're very proud of what they have achieved.
"It's great to see the success that we've had," Georgia said.
"All of the work that we put in has paid off."
Ms Palin said she is also proud of the students for winning the STEM category of the competition.
"One of the best things to come out of the competition is the relationships that the students form across year groups," she said.
"This team worked really hard and the three Year 10 students have shown such a high level of leadership. They have all done such an incredible job."
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