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Opti-MINDS success despite pandemic

Opti-MINDS success despite pandemic

Author: Barbara Mossman
Author Role: Head of Gifted and Enterprise Education

CHAC’s decision to forge ahead with Opti-MINDS in 2020 was rewarded recently when one team won their category, four out of our seven teams placed, and all teams attracted praise at Opti-MINDS Brisbane South Regionals. It was heartening that our students were still able to compete successfully this year, despite COVID-19 forcing the challenge into a virtual format, with performances videoed rather than performed 'live'.

The creativity, energy and positivity of our CHAC students was clearly on show in teams' performances, with these characteristics remarked upon by judges from around the state. Opti-MINDS is a team creative problem-solving competition, with solutions developed over six weeks and delivered in the form of a dramatic performance. Teams also compete in a Spontaneous Challenge that gauges their capacity to work as a team.

The 1st-placed Year 8 Language and Literature team, the McTacos, were singled out for special acknowledgement by Opti-MINDS organisers, with the team asked for permission for the video of their performance to be uploaded to the Opti-MINDS website as an exemplar for future competitors. This team were also awarded a Spirit of Opti-MINDS Award in recognition of their teamwork. The team will now proceed to judging to determine the State Champion for 2020. The winning team were: Callie Bannister, Mischa Mossman-Postula, Toby Chippendale, Abby Foresto, Olivia Griffiths, Claire Nock and Sasha Whitcombe.

Three teams also earned Honours Awards (runners-up) this year, with our Year 10 Team also awarded a Spirit of Opti-MINDS Award. The Honours-awarded teams were:

  • Year 10 Language and Literature Team (Senior Division), the Jalapenos: Lily Chippendale, Liley Smith, Alec Wills, Sarah Findlay, Redmond Marshall.
  • Year 9 Social Science team, LXIX: Ariane Wallast-Groenewoud, Zoe Billings, Rosie Albina, Sarah Leonard, Ayla Lyon, Dani Weizman.
  • Year 7 Language and Literature Team, The Glow Sticks: Claire McAlister, Poppy Ammundsen, Amy Cetinich, Anouk Hilty, Ashlin Ahmelman, Bonnie Camuglia-May, Sarah Humphreys.

Special thanks are due to those who helped with coaching this year: Mrs Kate Horton, Mrs Suzie Alexander, Ms Elizabeth Schluter and dynamic Year 10 student and ex-Opti-MINDS performer, Matthew Stoward.