Team Blink from St. Ailbe’s School in Tipperary wins

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The 2009 F1 in Schools Technology Challenge powered by in Ireland by Honda

Dublin, 28th April 2009. Team Blink from St. Ailbe’s School in Tipperary Town was declared the Overall Winners of the 2009 Honda-powered F1 in Schools Technology Challenge, at the National Finals held in Griffith College Dublin today.

Team Members Matthew Ryan, Olivia Breen, Daniel Bresnan, Nathan Dunne and Simon Ryan fought off fierce competition from 24 finalist teams from all over Ireland to claim the National Title and Trophy as well as the opportunity to represent Ireland next year in the 2010 World Championships.  The overall winners also shared €3,500 in prize money and each member received their own individual Xbox with and Xbox game.

Work for the 2009 finals commenced last September.  Intense competition followed with 600 students representing 150 second-level schools from 22 counties battling their way through various levels including regional finals. The Formula 1 international competition, which is run in Ireland by Irish Computer Society (ICS), has this year challenged 7 million students across the globe to design, build and race compressed air–powered model F1 cars.

Frank Kennedy, Sales and Marketing Director of Universal Honda, in presenting the winning trophy, congratulated the overall winners while also expressing his delight at the very high standards displayed by all the finalists.  “It is very rewarding for Honda to sponsor F1 in Schools – an exciting event that promotes learning in such a fun and relevant way. The commitment shown by both the teachers and the students is amazing.  The high standards attained give us all great confidence for the future development of science and technology in Ireland which is vital for the future of our economy.”

“From a corporate point of view we see F1 in schools as the ideal opportunity to promote team building, management, technological and design skills of students in a very creative way.

All the participating teams have been perfecting their designs, portfolios and presentation skills since competing in the regional finals last February and March.  Using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to create virtual 3D models of their cars, the teams collaborated with 3rd Level F1 Make Centres on their manufacture.  The colleges used their special milling equipment to convert the designs into real model F1 racers.  The cars, measuring about 25cms and made of balsa wood, can reach scale speeds of 350km/h.

According to Peter Brabazon, Programme Director, Discover Science & Engineering, The Honda Formula 1 in Schools Challenge is an excellent programme which promotes engineering-related skills in secondary schools across the country.  By taking science out of the classroom and into such an exciting competition, the students involved can see how engineering plays an important role in the everyday lives.  As a result, we are delighted to be part of such a dynamic project which is helping to create a pipeline of engineering graduates.

In addition to racing head to head, the competing teams were judged on the quality of engineering, portfolio, resource management, marketing, graphic design and sponsorship activities and on a verbal presentation of their work.

For many of the students, Formula 1 in Schools Technology Challenge powered in Ireland by Honda, has been the highlight of the school year to date. “It has been an overall education; we have learnt personal as well as computer skills; we have worked as team players and learnt how important it is for each person to meet deadlines so as to keep the project moving forward.  Best of all it has been fun” said Matthew Ryan of Team Blink.

Irish Computer Society CEO, Jim Friars added: “This is the fourth year of the Challenge in Ireland and it just gets bigger and better.  The quality of the students work is truly impressive and it has been encouraging to witness the teams immersing themselves wholeheartedly in the worlds of technology and engineering.  Schools see the value of incorporating the challenge into their extra-curricular activities, and we believe it is the perfect preparation for t4  Technology subjects, which are now being examined in secondary schools across the country.

Full List of award winning teams

Overall Winners:       Team Blink, St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town

Senior Cycle
Ist Place                      Team Blink, St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town
2nd Place                     Valhalla Racing, Dundalk Grammar School
3rd Place                      West Coast Racers, St Gerard’s College, Castlebar, Co Mayo

Junior Cycle:
Ist Place                      Team Hornets, O’Fiach College, Dundalk, Co Louth
2nd Place                     V-tech Racing
3rd Place                      Team Presto, Presentation Secondary School, Loughboy, Kilkenny

Fastest Car Type D  West Coast Racers, St. Gerard’s College,, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Fastest Car Type R  Team Blink, St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town.

Best Web                   Valhalla Racing, Dundalk  Grammar School

Best ICT and CAD    Valhalla Racing, Dundalk Grammar School

Best Sponsorship & Marketing:     Team Concept, St Clare’s College, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan
Best Innovation        Tanager Racing, Beara Community School, Co. Cork.

Best Newcomer                    Team Cheetahs, St.Mary’s School for the Deaf, Cabra, Dublin 7
Nurney Speed Demons, Muinebeag Community School, Co Carlow         
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Pictured from Left: F1 in Schools Overall Winners 2009, Jim Friars (Irish Computer Society CEO)& F1 Team Blink: Matthew Ryan, Daniel Bresnan, Olivia Breen (Team Manager), Nathan Dunne & Simon Ryan from St Ailbe’s School & Frank Kennedy, Sales and Marketing Director of Universal Honda