The F1 in Schools national champions for 2017 are Golden Diversity from Queechy High School in Tasmania

Golden Diversity is made up of five girls, and as their team name suggests all are from very diverse backgrounds. They are: Yara Alkhalili, who comes from an Iraqi background; Hoai Nguyen, Vietnamese; Eleanor Arumugam, Indian; Claire Cameron, Scottish/Australian; and Hollie Johnson, English. All the girls were Year 10 students apart from Cameron, who is in Year 9.

Second place went to Hyperdrive, a team of boys from Trinity Grammar School in Kew, Victoria (an all-boys school), while third place went to Instant Transmission, an all-boys team from Queechy High School. Golden Diversity will now lead Team Australia at the 2017 F1 in Schools World Finals, this year being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the end of September.

The gala awards event was an amazing culmination of four days of competition. As each team of students stepped on to the stage to receive their medallions and awards as their school names were announced, it was evident that Tasmanian, South Australian and Victorian schools are still setting the pace in STEM education.

A highlight of the awards ceremony was having members from Brighton Secondary School’s 2016 World Finals team – who came second outright and broke the world speed record – presenting awards to “the next generation”. Who better to present this year’s awards than the fastest team in the 13-year history of F1 in Schools?

Re-Engineering Australia Foundation’s applied learning STEM competitions have led to the development of several champion educators who have wholeheartedly embraced the holistic nature of these programs and their dramatic student outcomes. They have energetically promoted the competitions to their own schools and many others spread across their states. Some of these teachers have led from the front for more than a decade and the results of their dedication were on show at the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge National Finals.

The 2017 National Champions of the Development (“rookie”) category of F1 in Schools was Spectrum, from Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide. Their school has produced National Finalists seven years in a row, progressing to the F1 World Finals no less than three times, and winning the World Championship in 2012 and came second in 2016.

REA Foundation’s F1 in Schools program attracts a real diversity of ethnic backgrounds. A quick appraisal of the 131 competitor names at the F1 in Schools national finals revealed representation from across the globe. This multitude of genealogies was no obstacle to the team members because in order to reach this level of competition they have spent months if not years working very closely together with an emphasis on teamwork, collaboration, complementary skill sets and good communication.

Girls of all ages have found a ‘perfect fit’ in many of the F1 in Schools team roles, predominantly those of team manager, marketing manager and graphic designer. A number of teams feature female engineers and car designers.

At the 2017 REA Foundation National Finals more than half of the teams (17 out of 30) included girls. Golden Diversity is an all-girl team. They were one of four all-girl teams whilst a fifth had four girls and one boy. Nine of the 17 teams were led by a female team manager and four of them had female design engineers.