St Norbert College students win State Brain Bee championship


Four Year 10 students from St Norbert College will travel to Sydney later this year to represent WA after winning the State Brain Bee championship on July 24 at the University of Western Australia.

Eighteen schools took part in the State finals, which included an individual competition as well as a team competition.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is the country’s only neuroscience competition for high school students and is designed to test students’ knowledge of neuroscience and associated conditions/diseases of the brain.

The St Norbert College team – made up of Dawn Saji, Millenium Paneru, Yajnah Juggessur and Mika Bautista – outperformed 17 other schools in the State final, after progressing through the competition’s first round earlier in the year.

Dawn capped off a successful day by finishing third in the individual competition. He said the experience was highly enjoyable.

“I am very proud of our group effort in coming first in WA,” he said. “We worked very well and our hard studies paid off. I was extremely surprised to come third in the individual competition; I was not expecting it at all.”

Dawn said he was considering neuroscience as a career option due to his strong interest in the field.

“I am very interested in all aspects of neuroscience as there are so many new things to learn and a lot more research needs to be done in this field,” he said.

“I strongly believe that neuroscience can help in the understanding of diseases and cures in the future.”

Coordinator of St Norbert College’s Academic Excellence program Colette Miranda said the students prepared extensively for the competition.

“A book on neuroscience was given to the students last December, and many read through the book during the summer holidays,” she said.

“The team worked very hard with great commitment and enthusiasm. On the way to UWA, they were revising the chapters in the books on brain facts.”

Brain Bee State Coordinator and UWA Senior Research Fellow Jennifer Rodger said the Year 10 students demonstrated a great depth of knowledge and a keen interest in neuroscience.

“It was wonderful to see so many students interested in such an important subject,” Dr Rodger said.

“Hundreds of millions of people world-wide are affected by neurological conditions and many of us know at least one person affected by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, epilepsy, autism or Multiple Sclerosis.

“With neurological disorders and mental illness so prevalent, it’s good to see so many young people considering choosing this as a career path and keen to make a difference.”

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