Pakuranga wins EPro8 Challenge

Larraine Barton – Head of Science Faulty, Ben Agnew (Yr12), Jeremy Ishi (Yr12), Peita Houkamau (Yr11), Alexis Usal (Yr11), Harold Russ – Head of Robotics Dept.

Pakuranga College are the senior high school winners of the 2019 Vector EPro8 Challenge.

On Tuesday April 30, teams of from high schools across Auckland travelled to Western Springs to compete in the hotly contested finals of the Vector EPro8 Challenge.

This event, which is based on a series of science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based tasks, began in Wellington in 2015 and kicked off in Auckland the following year.

The challenge has proved to be extremely popular with schools all over the country and Auckland event manager Kelvin Theale believes that this is because, “schools recognise the importance of collaborative learning, and solving tasks based on limited information”.

The event has previously been run for students from intermediate and junior high school levels, however, this was the first year of the senior high school student competition (Years 11-13).

Each challenge is designed to test a range of skills and this year’s theme was ‘Arcade Games’. The fact that the students participating were all too young to remember Pacman and Space Invaders did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm and they tackled the tasks with gusto, creating a variety of automated contraptions with a variety of engineered and robotic components.

For Pakuranga College students Ben Agnew, Alexis Usal, Peita Houkamau and Jeremy Ishi, it was a nail-biting finish as scoring went down to the wire.

As Alexis pointed out, “We knew we were in the top three, but then a sensor malfunctioned on our space invader, so it was pretty stressful”.

When the final score declared Pakuranga College to be senior high school winners of the 2019 Vector EPro8 Challenge, the school’s Head of Science, Larraine Barton was understandably delighted.

“It’s such an amazing competition!” she said. “We enter teams as part of our gifted and talented programme, because the tasks are extremely challenging. However, the whole ethos of the event is what modern learning is all about: students using what they have learned to find innovative solutions.”