USQ executive manager Brett Langabeer presents Aldridge State High School, represented by William Slade and Lindsey Massey, with the 2014 regional trophy.
USQ executive manager Brett Langabeer presents Aldridge State High School, represented by William Slade and Lindsey Massey, with the 2014 regional trophy. Jocelyn Watts

Aldridge vies for another science, engineering challenge win

ALL eyes will be on Maryborough's Aldridge State High School when its students vie for another win in the 10th annual USQ Fraser Coast Science and Engineering Challenge.

Aldridge scored a hat-trick last year when it won the regional title for the third consecutive year, making a total of four wins in five years (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014).

Aldridge principal Ross Higgins said the school would be aiming for another win when it competed again in this year's regional event on May 4.

"Aldridge has competed every year since the Fraser Coast's first Challenge in 2006 and on four occasions went on to compete at state level," he said.

"In 2012, our students were a hair's breadth away from winning the Queensland Super Challenge Series.

"We're very proud of all our students who have competed over the past 10 years.

"The first year's students would now be at least 25 years old with many enjoying rewarding careers in science and engineering."

More than 2500 high school students from throughout the Wide Bay region have participated in the annual event since 2006, hosted by USQ Fraser Coast with assistance from the Combined Rotary Clubs of Hervey Bay.

USQ Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas said the challenge was recognised, both at home and abroad, as an innovative way of raising young people's awareness of the career opportunities in science and engineering.

"The students are allocated one or two tasks for the day and they are assessed as to how well they complete these tasks, competing against students from other schools," she said.

"The tasks may include building balsa-wood bridges, catapults and hovercrafts.

"Every year the University of Newcastle team develops new and creative activities in which the students can participate.

"It's always a lot of fun choosing which activities we will offer at the USQ Fraser Coast Challenge."

USQ Fraser Coast executive manager Brett Langabeer said the challenge was not only fun for the students but the local community also eagerly awaited its arrival each year.

He said Rotary clubs provided volunteer supervisors on the day.

"The hands-on, competitive nature of the challenge allows students to experience the creative side of science and engineering in a fun atmosphere," Mr Langabeer said.

"Schools have been invited to participate again this year and Aldridge is among those that have confirmed."

The challenge was aimed mainly at Year 10 students but Mr Langabeer said schools were welcome to include younger children to make up teams.