Decline in volunteers clouds future

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
The Science and Engineering Challenge has been a fixture on Mid West school calendars and needs more local sponsorship and volunteers.
Camera IconThe Science and Engineering Challenge has been a fixture on Mid West school calendars and needs more local sponsorship and volunteers. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton teacher Dallas Bruce says an annual science event designed to get children interested in pursuing science, engineering and maths at university may not run anymore if volunteer numbers fail to pick up next year.

The Science and Engineering Challenge has been a fixture on Mid West school calendars for several years and is heavily dependent on local sponsorship and volunteers to supervise the children and run activities.

At the event last month, students were tasked with multiple projects, including building a bridge from simple materials, and constructing a small building before simulating an earthquake.

Event facilitator Adriana Zaja, from Newcastle University, said the activities helped students learn structural integrity and planning, as well as teamwork, and to engage with people they did not ordinarily associate with to simulate a workplace.

Ms Bruce thanked the sponsors and volunteers who have supported the program this year but said she wanted a larger showing of help in 2020 to keep the event going.

“The event wouldn’t run without community volunteers and sponsorship, so a big thank you to those people,” Ms Bruce said.

“But we’re almost at a point where we can’t run it anymore if we don’t have more volunteers.

“It would be good if people could get in touch with the school (Geraldton Grammar) about a month or two before the challenge begins next year.”

About 250 students attended the event on May 22-23.

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