VICTORS’ SPOILS: WestMAC students Matthew Eden, Katelyn Gough and Hamish Wood have returned from Japan where they were awarded first place for their scientific research into energy alternatives.
VICTORS’ SPOILS: WestMAC students Matthew Eden, Katelyn Gough and Hamish Wood have returned from Japan where they were awarded first place for their scientific research into energy alternatives. Contributed

West Moreton college trio triumphant at global forum

STUDENTS from West Moreton Anglican College claimed a prestigious energy research title at a global youth forum in Japan.

Three Year 11 students, Matthew Eden, Katelyn Gough and Hamish Wood, were the only Australian representatives at the Shizuoka Kita Youth Science Engineering Forum.

The forum hosted 150 students from 27 schools representing the United States, Italy, China, Thailand, Iran, Taiwan, Korea, Australia and Japan.

The WestMAC team won the top prize for the best research project presentation in the energy section for their research findings on the use of sugar cane waste as a biofuel source.

The team researched whether it is possible to produce enough ethanol from the fermentation of sugar cane waste - also known as bagasse - to create an economically viable biofuel source.

WestMAC principal Geoff McLay said the trio's award was a world-class result for both WestMAC and Australia.

"In the Energy division, our students were competing against top students from China, Japan, Italy and Taiwan," he said.

"Taiwan is consistently in the top three OECD science and technology rankings in international standardised testing (PISA)," he said.

Mr McLay said one of the Taiwanese schools in WestMAC's division was the best-performing academic school in maths, engineering technology in Taipei and had 3800 boys from Years 10 to 12.

"The WestMAC team's outstanding performance against some of the world's best science students is testament to the hard work and academic excellence showcased by Hamish, Katelyn and Matthew," he said.

"It also demonstrates that Australian students have the educational opportunities and ability to match it with the best on the world stage."

The WestMAC team was invited to participate in the forum by Shizuoka Kita High School, which hosted the event and is one of WestMAC's Japanese sister schools.

SKYSEF is an initiative of Shizuoka Kita High School, which is a member of the Japanese government's Super Science High Schools (SSH) program.

The SSH initiative is designed to develop and enhance Japan's future workforce capacity in response to trends of declining university entrance into Science and Technology courses.

There around 200 SSH schools across Japan (about 2% per cent of all schools) and 10 other SSH schools participated in SKYSEF 2013.



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