Students mastering skills for the future
EMPHASIS ON STEM SUBJECTS, INCLUDING ROBOTICS
SOUTHERN River College’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is starting to pay dividends.
The school has established two specialised robotics programs designed to expand students’ capabilities.
In addition to a robotics club established in 2012, the school sent a team of 13 to compete in the Australian version of the FIRST Robotics Competition in March.
The group, comprising year 10 and 11 students, finished fifth overall, the highest placed team from WA.
Deputy principal Mike Erith said the school was increasingly emphasising the importance of developing STEM skills for the future.
“It’s been a priority focus in the school... with changing needs for the 21st century and changing situations in the workplace and the different needs for business and industry for different skills going forward,” he said.
Mr Erith said he was delighted with the success of the robotics team in Sydney, especially given the short timeframe they had to work with.
“On December 1 we made the decision to go, and from then we put in a very tight time schedule, because the actual competition is held in March and the (competition game theme) is released on January 2,” he said.
“We got a team of 10 who, from January 2 through the school holidays, came in and did a series of workshops to design and start building.
“We had a six-week build to get the robot together and then the students flew out in midMarch. The actual competition was March 16, so you can see it was a very tight time schedule.”
Teacher Sarah Wickham said she was thrilled to see how well the students worked together on the project and applied their skills in a highpressure situation.
Teachers David Hosken and Sarah Wickham with robotics students.