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Optiminds 2018


​Highfields had five amazing teams participating in this year’s Toowoomba Region Opti-MINDS Challenge Day on Sunday 26 August. This annual celebration of excellence in problem solving is held at UQ Gatton campus. For six weeks, these students have worked enthusiastically, and with great commitment and team spirit to prepare a solutions to one of the three Challenges. They really did Highfields State School proud. They were, in fact, Unashamedly Excellent.

Congratulations to Highfields Team 1: Honours in Science Engineering


Charlie Hamilton Jackson,  Charles Herden,  Noah Irwin  & Erin Schneider
Ms Keating tried very hard at the start of the term to dissuade teams from trying this Challenge – it was incredibly difficult. But these students wanted to give it a go. They have to win the “If at first you don’t succeed, Try  - Try and TRY Again Award”. They worked right down to the wire – and at 1.00pm on the very last day of preparation, they finally got their robot correctly coded to complete the task. Sadly – as so often happens to lots of teams in the Science Engineering section, the robot didn’t perform perfectly on the day. However, the Long Term judges loved the humour in their drama – there was EVOLUTION, there were tazer battles and the poisoning of tribal enemies when nothing else worked. And the Spontaneous judges really appreciated the handshake.

Congratulations to Highfields Team 2: HONOURS IN LANGUAGE LITERATURE


Kristen Davey, Laura Hagarty,  Katherine Hamwood, Sarah Holman,
Sophie Reukers,  Jessica Rylands  &  Jade Tilley
This team of Year 5 girls got down to work straight away – the winners of the “Super – Organised Award”. They organised meetings at each other’s houses on weekends where they drafted and redrafted their script and made their costumes and props. They were the epitome of what Opti-MINDS is about – which is – kids can do it for themselves. Their Long Term judges loved the way they used rap to present their arguments for books versus technology. And that ‘unexpected’ ending - where you killed off Miss Trunchbull just before her fiancé jumped out of a cupboard to propose - was definitely surprising.

Highfields Team 5: Language Literature


Emma-Rose Flanagan,  Luis Kinivan,  Chloe Roberts,   Mia Roberts, 
Logan Smart,  Jessica Trapp  &  Braelyn Tschumy 
This was the Loud and Crazy group – but wow they did some great work and prepared a wonderful drama to explain their solution – Mrs Keating still doesn’t know how they managed to get all that work done at the same time as all the talking. Your Long Term judges were blown away by your fabulous and dramatic performance. Your persuasive arguments for books versus technology were extremely convincing. And the Spontaneous judges liked your creative and out-of-the-box ideas

Highfields Team 4: Language Literature


Claire Beahan,  Montana Beveridge,  Tiah Beveridge,  Hannah Coggan,
Allira Hunter,  Belle Pezet,  Eliza Wingrave
This team would win the award for the best costumes – from Montana’s dress made completely from the pages of a book to Belle’s stunning ‘moody teenager’ gear made by Eliza. The Long Term judges thought you nailed the accuracy of Roald Dahl’s characters and your unexpected ending was a 10/10.  The Spontaneous judges were really impressed by the way you built on ideas and they thought your solution was creative – if only you’d left time to write it all down!

Highfields Team 3: Social Science


Nick Boyd,  Izaak Brunner,  Coen Coutts,  Seren King, 
Jasmine Taylor  &  Megan Tweddle
Our only team in the Social Science category, their task was to think about milestones – how when we look back through time, a milestone marks a change in how we think or what we do. This team would win the Harmonious Award – they did a lot of laughing and never seemed to have a cross word between them. The Long Term judges were impressed with your drama and the lovely ending that reunited the tribes. You answered the Challenge well and had a lovely team feel. In the Spontaneous, the judges liked the creativity of your response but were concerned that not all members were actively involved.