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Local talent shines

Tuesday, 9th September, 2008

A team of students from BH High School have won the NSW Regional Final of the Tournament of Minds and will now proceed to the State competition.

The seven students, from years seven to ten, competed in the Language and Literature category of the tournament in Bathurst on Saturday.
It was a grueling weekend for the youngsters, departing Broken Hill at 3:45am to catch a bus then train for a 9am start on Saturday, only to return on Sunday. 

While at the tournament the students had to compete in two challenges, one long and one spontaneous.

The challenges are designed to be demanding and open-ended and students must present their solutions in a creative way.

The long challenge brief was supplied to the team six weeks ago, named the Great Memory Recall.

Teams had the choice of six authors with the scenario that the said author's memory is failing and the characters come to life in an attempt to revive it.

Students had to represent the five main characters they believe had the greatest impact on the author's life within ten minutes.

Aside from the time limitation, the team had to also keep the presentation within a 3m by 3m performance area and a minimum of four students had to be within the area at all times. 

They also had to make their own props and costumes from a list of allowable materials.

In all of this, they were to have no help from teachers.

The BH High team chose Shakespeare as their author and proceeded to write a script encompassing Romeo and Juliet, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

After their high-scoring performance in that challenge, they moved to the spontaneous round.

Here they were taken into a room, given their challenge and allowed only five minutes preparation before their two minute presentation.

This section brought the only major criticism of the team's work from judges.

"The only thing they said was that in our presentation Santa lived in Antarctica," one of the team members Scott said.

"They said 'Santa lives at the North Pole' and it still took all of us a few seconds to work out what they meant - and that Antarctica was in the South."

Team facilitator Di Toynto said it was impressive the team had won as they had been at a disadvantage to many schools.

"They only had lunchtimes to practice but at other schools teams were given class time," she said. 

She said also in the way of props they were only able to take what could be carried on the buses and trains.

The team will travel to Sydney next weekend for the State Final, a journey made possible by a donation from the local Lions Club. 

They will be locked in a room for three hours with a challenge and only be able to use items contained in a given box to solve it and come up with a presentation.

The Tournament of Minds problem solving competition originated in Victoria in 1987 and grew to include not only all Australian states and territories but New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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