Oliver's Potential Move Into the 'Ultimate Classroom'

Channel 10 recently put the call out to Year 11 and 12 Queensland students who are passionate about all things STEM to express interest in being cast for their exciting new competition show, 'Ultimate Classroom'.

With a keen interest in aviation and inspired by the fact the Australian Defense Force (ADF) was involved, Year 12 student, Oliver was quick to get his audition video sent in. Clearly, he did a great job because he was approached by the network for the casting call and was flown to Brisbane where he was one of 36 students from around Queensland to answer the call.

Here is how it all unfolded, in Oliver's own words...

It began in the last term when Mr Cummings advertised "The Ultimate Classroom" flyer during assembly. While STEM is definitely an area of interest, the fact that the show was supported by the ADF definitely did attract me. Doing more research, I found out that aviation, one of my main interests, is quite literally a branch of STEM! With this in mind, I approached Mr Cummings, just to double-check I was eligible and with a nod of approval, I put together a video audition and sent it in. It contained who I was and what aspects of STEM interested me... of course all I talked about was aviation! Haha.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and out of nowhere an email appeared in my inbox from the casting studio, inviting me to go to Brisbane and audition. They arranged my flights and accommodation for an overnight stay. With a bit of support from my parents, we headed down to the audition the next day where I joined other students who had also flown in from various places - two brothers from Proserpine, twins from Airlie Beach and a girl from Bundaberg. They sent a minibus to the hotel and took us all to the casting studio, which was a small-ish building directly opposite the Gabba.

There were 36 students in total and we were all given name tags with numbers - these numbers sorted us into groups of three, with twelve groups in total. I was with one of the twins from Proserpine and another girl from the Sunshine Coast. We were then introduced to two Producers and one Director, one of which had worked on Legomasters and other similar shows. They explained how they needed eight groups of three, but only six would be filmed. We then met the STEM teacher who was responsible for setting up the challenges.

We were shown into a room, two groups at a time, where we were given the task of constructing a tower taller than 35cm that could hold as much weight as possible, using only paper, straws, and tape. There were video cameras set up to record each group's challenge and the Director and Producer were also there to observe us working. It soon became clear that time could be an issue and our group was given the extra challenge of having to complete our tower in half the time!

We built an Eiffel Tower inspired tower, using straws for cross braces and the paper as the main structure. Just when we thought we wouldn't be able to finish in time, we were awarded a time extension by the Director for "good communication", obviously wanting to see more of where this was going! However, the extension still didn't allow us enough time to properly secure a storage area. Despite this, we still managed to hold 250g which was an unbeaten record for the remainder of the day! (Excluding the group that had gone before us).

It was a very long wait for the remaining groups to get through, but we didn't mind because everyone there had lots of interesting stories to tell, and I had some of my own! From someone building a flamethrower to my antics in the coding world, a small break only for a Subway lunch and back at the conversation.

After every group had completed their challenge, a few of the group's team members were shuffled around to form new groups as they wanted to see how certain people worked together. This time, they only asked for six groups, and I was in one of them! My new group also included the same boy from Proserpine as well as the girl from Bundaberg.

Having been included in the top six groups, I would like to take that as a positive sign. Should I be selected for the final cast, filming will take place in Brisbane over the June/July school holiday period. I have already sacrificed a few things that were planned for the holidays, just in case!

- Oliver Roper, Year 12

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