Students from Perth Modem School have been highly successful in their first Da Vinci Decathlon competition held at UWA.
The Da Vinci Decathlon is a whole-day academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students. Students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography, and legacy.
The Perth Modern School Year 10 team placed first for their year group, with the Year 7 and Year 8 teams placing third in their groups and the Year 9 team placing fourth.
Sumedha Ghosh, part of the winning Year 10 team, said her team assembled every Monday and Friday for six weeks practicing Decathlon papers, in preparation for the competition.
“Outside of school, our team members practiced and memorised content for each subject based on the theme we thought would be relevant, such as important events and the plots of popular classic novels,” Sumedha said.
Her fellow team member Anoushka Gupta said she would highly recommend the competition to other students, especially r those of younger years.
“It’s a great challenge which fosters creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills, as well as a comprehensive range of topics for students with all sorts of interests,” Anoushka said.
“It’s also a very enjoyable experience where you develop lots of friendships and develop your connection with peers through working together as a team.”
Qiufei Li said the team couldn’t believe it when they were announced the winners as it never really crossed their minds they would win such a big competition in the school’s first attempt.
“Competing was surprisingly the most enjoyable aspect,” Qiufei said.
“I originally thought the decathlon would be really stressful but the during the whole competition, we were laughing and joking around to ease our nerves and every time we solved a question together, it boosted our confidence and made us feel a little bit smarter.”
Teacher Helen Lydon, who organised the teams for the competition, said she was keen to facilitate the student’s involvement in the competition after seeing the “type of innovative and ‘stretchy’ thinking required which I thought was a great fit for the curious and creative minds of Perth Modern students.”
“Often gifted students prefer to work alone and only in areas where they excel,” Helen said.
“But for the DaVinci Decathlon, students work in their areas of expertise and also have to pitch in and help where they might not be so confident.”
“They are working under pressure, but they know that as a team they can help each other, and they see that the whole is truly more than the sum of the parts.”
“I said to the students going into the competition that I was already proud of the way they had worked so hard and prepared for the competition. But I was blown away by the results.”
The winning team ae now planning a trip to Sydney in September for entry into the national Da Vinci Decathlon.