Bright sparks top state in Dark comp

LOOKING to the stars has helped students from Lidcombe Public School scoop the prize pool to take both first and third place in the inaugural ‘Dark Sky’ competition.

Beating out about 4,500 entrants from the rest of the state, the two teams from Lidcombe designed innovative projects to build awareness about the impact of light pollution and the importance of maintaining a dark night sky for astronomical study.
The winning team of Ashley Clavecillas, Ethan You, Nicholas Vo and Yagin Ha, each received a telescope and an astronomy related book, as well as $3,000 for the school. Along with some of their schoolmates, they also visited the Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran.

Confident that the project had created some budding future astronomers, Assistant Principal Aruna Pant said 46 teams from the school participated in the competition which empowered students as lifelong learners who take ownership and responsibility for their own learning.
“To have two projects from the school win first and third place in NSW was absolutely mind-blowing,” she said.
“It was surreal. The students did put a lot of hard work into this, it was a nine-week project and at the end, we took 16 students to Siding Springs and had a wonderful time. It was very educational.”
Entries were judged by astronomy experts and specialists from the State’s Department of Education, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, with Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and Planning Minister Rob Stokes both congratulating the winners.