It has been a long time since school students have been able to compete in person due to the pandemic.
But at this week's da Vinci Decathlon in Armidale, students talked about was how great to be able to compete against other schools after such a long absence.
"I really liked the spirit of all the schools coming together, especially after COVID, and having the chance to test yourself in this way," Year 10 student from The Armidale School, Alison Nivison, said.
She was one of hundreds of girls and boys who this week took part in one of the largest academic competitions of its kind in the region.
Held over three days at TAS, from Monday to Wednesday, the ninth da Vinci Decathlon explored the concept of 'causation' within 10 different challenge areas - engineering, mathematics, code breaking, at and poetry, science, english, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy.
One of the keys to success is not just having a team of bright students.
"It's important to work together as a team, but also to allocate the challenges to suit people's strengths," Jack Coddington, a member of the TAS Year 9 team which won its division, said.
"I did maths, some code-breaking and also some legacy which is largely general knowledge.
"I've done a few da Vincis but this is the first time I've been in a winning team, so that was pretty cool," he said.
Students from Years 5-10 from nine department, independent and Catholic schools took part in the Decathlon, an initiative of Knox Grammar School in Sydney and hosted by TAS for students from the northern inland to the coast.
The spoils were shared amongs several schools, with the winner of every age group qualifying for the state final to be held online later in the year.
The Decathlon was attended by Armidale City Public School, Armidale Secondary College, NEGS, PLC Armidale, The Armidale School; Calrossy Anglican School and Carinya Christian School from Tamworth and Holy Trinity School, Inverell.
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