FIVE finalists in this year’s Innovation Awards that celebrates technology and innovation are all pupils at St David's.
The Innovation Awards is a prestigious competition for the most innovative project work at GCSE and A’level design and technology organised by the WJEC examining body in conjunction with Welsh Government’s department of economy science and transport. Its aim is to encourage young people in Wales to be technologically innovative.
The designs that excited the judges includes a model of a space buggy which even impressed NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), a dominoes game for the blind which could be patented, and a striking looking Star Wars inspired film prop.
Martin O’Leary who heads the design and technology department said: “I’m very proud five of our pupils have made the final shortlist of finalists, as there are 120,000 students across Wales that were eligible for the award.
“I think our secret is the way we teach.
“The workshop has open access so the pupils can come in whenever they want-it’s a workshop rather than a classroom.”
Mr O’Leary added: “They can come in and make themselves a cup of coffee, it’s a space that is their own.
“My colleague Jon Demery and I feel that we are facilitators rather than teachers.”
Former pupil Jake Jones, from Llandudno, who won one of the Innovation Awards last year, has gone on to study mechanical engineering, and another past pupil and winner, Nicholas Evans, is working for JCB.
“This year Charlie Stanbury’s Mars rover caused a lot of excitement when a photograph of it was posted on social media,” said Mr O’Leary.
“It was even a hit with NASA, who commented how much they liked it but they also give him advice on how the design could be improved which is great.
“Danny Jones who designed the Star Wars film prop has also drawn a lot of attention, and David Johnson’s game for blind people is very impressive.
“There is braille on one side and dominoes on the other. Danny has tested it with blind or partially sighted people and they loved it, and at the moment it is being patented.”
The Innovation Awards takes place in Bangor in October.