In August this year, 3,800 students across the country participated in the Australian Science Innovators Junior Science Olympiad exam. Fifty of the highest-performing participants under the age of 16 were selected to attend a national invitation-only online program: the Junior Science Olympiad Academy. All Saints’ College student Dominique To (Year 9) was selected this year, a first for the College.
This Australian Science Innovators Junior Science Olympiad exam forms an integral stage of the Australian Science Olympiads (JSO), which is a national enrichment program providing rewarding opportunities for secondary students to extend themselves beyond curriculum-based science through challenging exams, stimulating extensions, enrichment programs and international competitions.
The JSO Academy is an opportunity for 50 of the top-performing students to further extend themselves in their discipline, connect with subject experts, and develop new friendships with like-minded peers from across the country. Based on their performance, they can then have the opportunity to represent Australia at one of the International Science Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics and Junior Science.
In an exciting first for the College, Dominique writes:
"This is such an important opportunity, and I’m very grateful that I am getting this chance to participate."
"There are lots of things I’m looking forward to in both the Academy and everything that comes after.
"The opportunity to learn from teachers who specialise in these sorts of competitions and topics is really exciting," she added.
All Saints’ College prides itself on providing an innovative curriculum and prioritises the fostering of students’ interests and passions both in and out of the classroom.
One of the ways this is executed is through extension activities and competitions organised by staff on behalf of students by providing opportunities outside of the classroom and regular curriculum to excel and be recognised for their efforts. The JSO Exam is just one example of this.
"I have received a lot of support and encouragement from the College, especially from the Science department. A lot of what I have been able to do is due to the opportunities I have been connected to by those who supported me," said Dominique.
All Saints' College's Head of Science, Miss Stacey Fairhead, is a key driver of providing these opportunities for students and was quick to recognise that Dominique is a student who would benefit from these additional experiences.
"Science is first and foremost a discipline that requires both an inquiring and critical thinking mind," said Stacey.
"We provide opportunities for students to understand key concepts and then apply them in novel contexts and Dominique has been able to achieve this at the highest level."
"Dominique is not only a hard-working student, but she also has an innate ability to think critically about complex problems. She should be very proud of her achievements, and it is wonderful to see some of our female students thriving in the STEM subjects."
The JSO Academy consists of four courses run over two ten-week blocks, the first of which commences in late January 2023.
Dominique aims to make the most of the experience she gains next year to improve her results in future JSO endeavours.
The College wishes Dominique the best of luck, and looks forward to seeing what she achieves next.