Thursday, 07 March 2019 23:04

St Francis Xavier College Canberra competing in F1 in Schools national final


A team of five Year 10 students from St Francis Xavier College in Canberra is competing in the F1 in Schools 2019 Australian National Finals from 11 to 15 March in Melbourne.

The event is one of a number of curtain raisers to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, which will be held on 17 March in Melbourne.

F1 in Schools is billed as the world’s most competitive STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) competition involving over 17,000 schools in 44 countries.

Students design, make and race a miniature F1 car capable of accelerating from 0 to 80km/h in under a second. Since the competition began in 2003, Australian teams have been the most dominant on the podium, boasting six world championships, and numerous other trophies.

The challenge is designed to inspire students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way. Judging is based on all these factors.

The VelocitySFX team from St Francis Xavier College won the “Development” class — for teams who are competing for the first time in F1 for Schools — at the ACT Regional Finals in 2018.

“It was a very well-deserved win – the team has been working hard since July last year. It’s important to note that it’s not just about the speed of the car. The team had to excel at all the different facets of setting up an F1 team, including their trade display, partnerships with sponsors and industry, project portfolios showing their design, engineering and testing processes, and the presentation and branding of their team and car,” said Graham Stock, Design and Technologies co-ordinator, St Francis Xavier College.

“Our participation in this year’s competition would not have been possible without the financial support of our platinum sponsors CEA Technologies, Extreme Networks and Nutanix, and our gold sponsors Qirx and Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn. There are a lot of material costs involved in the project, as well as flights and accommodation now that the team is travelling to Melbourne for the National Finals.”

Extreme Networks was introduced as a potential sponsor by its partner Qirx, an IT services company based in the ACT that had implemented Extreme Networks technologies for top of rack switching for St Francis Xavier College’s hyper-converged server environment.

“The education sector is a big focus for our business, and it’s great to involve our partners like Extreme Networks in contributing to fantastic STEM initiatives in the schools we support. We’ve also been able to involve our people directly in the project, providing mentoring support to the kids both in terms of the business side and the technical aspects,” said Matthew Hadfield, senior systems engineer, Qirx.

“Promoting STEM education at all levels is really important to Extreme Networks, because it’s supporting our next generation of technical talent that’s emerging.  Team VelocitySFX offered us the opportunity to be part of this and we felt that this would be a great way to give back and support such a great initiative,” said Chris Georgellis, regional director, Australia & New Zealand, Extreme Networks.

The VelocitySFX team comprises Dominic Ferraris (team manager), Luke McPherson (design engineer), Joshua McWilliam (manufacturing engineer), Rebekah Nahon (resource manager) and Thomas Itter (graphic designer).

There will be a live stream of the F1 in Schools 2019 Australian National Finals on the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation YouTube channel and the progress of the competition and the teams can be followed on various social media channels using the hashtag #f1inschools.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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