Tech teachers honoured for robot innovation
Sydney’s south west is becoming a hotspot for science and technology with three schools earning plaudits in the field of robotics.
11 March 2022
Six public school educators in Sydney’s south west have been acknowledged for their outstanding work in technology with a range of awards.
Effie Niarchos, Angela Waesch and Shana Huzairan (St Johns Park High School); Julieanne Doai and Suada Bilali (Bankstown Girls High School) and Grant Sparke (Greystanes High School) all picked up gongs from digital technology company EduTech Australia centring on engaging students with robotics.
Principals Ms Niarchos, Mr Sparke and Ms Bilali were recognised for their dedication to excellence in STEM education and social inclusion with the Leadership Excellence Award.
Ms Niarchos has worked hard to provide opportunities for all students to engage in STEM-based learning by creating opportunities such as the after-school Robotics Club, which has also been adapted for students with disabilities.
Ms Waesch and Ms Huzairan jointly claimed the Women in Tech: Teacher of the Year Award alongside Ms Doai.
“We are honoured and humbled to be receiving this award,” Ms Waesch said.
“As educators, we value the importance of student-led learning opportunities that incorporate collaboration, communication, creative, critical thinking skills and digital competencies to serve the community."
The efforts of the staff have paid off with Australian and international recognition for their students after humble beginnings.
Two St Johns Park high students went on to win the Virtual Simulator Division at the 2021 Universal Robotics Challenge.
For Bankstown Girls High and Ms Doai, a two-time winner of STEM Teacher of the Year by EduTech, and Ms Bilali, it was a journey that started in 2019 with an autonomous robot called Susan that could carry fish and shoot rubber bands on command.
That year students got to travel to Japan to represent Australia in the Universal Robotics Competition and by 2021 a team from the school had placed third in an international competition featuring 76 teams.