The four newly refurbished science laboratories at PLC Armidale were officially opened last Friday.
Firstly by Barnaby Joyce, who was perplexed when he accepted the official plaque from a programmed Lego robot (made by year 5 girls) and secondly in the afternoon by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane.
In his presentation, Mr Joyce said the day was a real cause for celebration.
“Australia has a strong history of scientific discovery and for many of our top scientists, their journey began in the school classroom,” Mr Joyce said. “The Australian government is committed to helping provide the best quality education for school students across the country.
“It’s not only facilities such as this that matter but the quality of teaching and programs delivered in state of the art facilities that really makes a significant difference.”
The College’s Science Laboratories were renovated in a joint project funded by the Federal government, combined with dollars raised from the school, its Foundation, Old Girls’ Union and P&F as well as PLC Armidale community.
The College’s fundraising committee, entitled IGNITE, even sold off elements on the PLC Armidale Periodic Table, which have been recognized on a magnificent timber Periodic Table now adorning the wall in the Science wing.
“To have four laboratories in a school the size of PLC Armidale demonstrates the focus on the sciences at the college warranting the significant investment,” Principal Nicola Taylor said.
“With a great many graduates progressing to undertake further studies in the sciences or related fields, the refurbishment project has been testimony to the college’s commitment to the development of the STEM subject area.
“And we are absolutely delighted to have both the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia together with the NSW Chief Scientist here to commemorate this milestone event.”
Professor O’Kane was thrilled to see so many girls engaged and interested in their scientific studies and commented on just how impressed she was that PLC Armidale was well and truly above the National average.
She also took time to meet the four Year 11 students who have been selected to attend the prestigious National Youth Science Forum in Canberra during the January holiday break.
Following a rigorous selection process conducted by Foundation Partners of the program, Rotary International, Ragavi Jeyakumar (Armidale), Kate Biddle (Inverell), Tara Price (Buladelah) and Georgina Hebblewhite (Armidale) will have the opportunity to further their interest in the STEM area, early next year.
“In a very impressive short address and visit, Professor O’Kane, inspired a whole new generation of scientists,” Mrs Taylor said.
“PLC Armidale is very appreciative to Professor O’Kane for joining us during her busy schedule, particularly on the eve of National Science Week!
“The girls commented on just how much she had achieved yet she was so humble.”
Both Mr Joyce and Professor O’Kane enjoyed tours of the newly refurbished science facilities along with members of the school’s College Council from Sydney and the New England, the Vice Chancellor of UNE, Annabelle Duncan, and other special guests including the many donors, and interacted with students and staff alike.
Girls from Years 8 and 10 were on hand to answer questions about their recent special Science projects, capturing the attention of both Professor O’Kane and UNE’s Vice Chancellor.
“As a result of last Friday’s focus on Science (along with the activities planned for this week), we now have even more girls here interested in pursuing Science subjects, which is absolutely brilliant,” the college’s science co-ordinator, Jonathon Shumack, said.
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