Learning Enrichment News
Last week many of our students from Years 7-11 participated in mind-challenging opportunities with others schools at the Da Vinci Decathlon at Knox Grammar, Wahroonga and a Philosophy Conference at Newington College, Stanmore.
DA VINCI DECATHLON
Loreto teams have been competing in the NSW Da Vinci Decathlon Competition, organised by Knox Grammar School, since its first year in 2002. Schools from around the state travel to the competition to compete in teams of eight across ten disciplines: Engineering, Mathematics, Code breaking, Art and Poetry, Science, English, Ideation, Creative Producers, Cartography and General Knowledge.
This year’s theme was Power. Mrs Rhone accompanied Years 7 and 8 on Tuesday May 23rd and Mrs Watts accompanied Years 9 and 10 on Wednesday May 24th. Students found the day to be stimulating, fun and challenging and they were all a credit to the school.
Year 7: Sophia Ingham, Cheri Hui, Audrey Kha, Cate Fitzpatrick, Chloe Lee, Annabel Mannes, Isabelle Reid, Suloshi De Alwis.
Year 8: Gabriella Cameron, Olivia Spencer, Zara Oong, Isabella Gessner, Ashlyn Horton, Vivien Li, Erin Longney, Emily Soros.
Year 9: Heather Hannigan, Tahlia Jones, Luka Swain, Tara Savell-McKean, Sian Thomas, Madeline Playford, Natasha Benham, Sarah Caspers.
Year 10: Sophie Dwyer, Zoe Warland, Grace Campbell, Niamh Graham, Ainsley Mallett, Anastasia Leaver, Christina Saad, Anna Hanselmann.
On Wednesday 24 May, forty-two of our Years 10 and 11 students along with Mrs Cunneen and Mrs Roffey attended a one-day conference at Newington College to hear Dr Peter Vardy (UK educationalist and author) speak on A Grand Design, Science, Ethics and Religion in Dialogue. Dr Vardy aims to build skills in critical thinking as well as increase students’ awareness of world issues and the existence of, and reasons for, different points of view.
Dr Vardy covered topics such as the relationship between Science and Religion; The Design Argument with consideration of an intelligent designer as a plausible explanation to the order and purpose of the universe; an exploration of both religious (natural law) and non-religious (utilitarian) approaches to decision-making in bioethics; consideration of what can, will and what we should do with the knowledge and capabilities science has given us and does religion have any role in shaping the future of humanity.
Many of our girls participated in the debates, putting forward thoughtful and reasoned arguments for their points of view on the following:
Debate 1: This house believes that science can, in principle, provide a complete picture of reality and that religion is now irrelevant.
Debate 2: This house believes that human rights should be conferred on the basis of rationality, consciousness and intelligence.
“… very thought provoking… allowed me to think deeper into subjects like religion and science.”
Eileen Yang, Year 10
“…I was very interested to learn so much about the way humanity is evolving and that in ten years we will be able to access the internet through our brains, be able to have artificial wombs and AI will be very present in society.”
Evelyn O’Brien, Year 10
“… a mind-blowing experience that challenged me to think of life itself and human existence… it was fascinating to learn of the developing ideas of philosophy over time and how relevant it is to today’s changing world as we become inundated by advanced technology, politics, religious and scientific wars, corruption and personal pursuits.”
Lecquia Chang, Year 11
“I learnt more about the identifiable and strong connections between religion, science and ethics and developed the understanding not to view ideas in such a black-and-white way.”
Larissa Vella, Year 10
“A very exciting, stimulating day… I found the debate on human rights to be the most interesting as it was more focussed on the human perspective and experience.”
Elizabeth Isaac, Year 11
The intensive, fast-paced, mind-stretching day both stimulated and challenged the girls as they pondered some of the major issues facing our world today.
Ms Robyn Roffey