Big Ideas, Bright Minds Gifted and Talented Student Conference

Pictured above: 2nd row (L-R) – Sara Alaei, Joshua McAllan, Pearl Hoile, Sehar Joshi, Cassidy Fifield.
1st row (L-R) – Daniel Goldberg, Jessica Chen, Noor Saadi, Sam McMath, Alex Young.

As part of National Gifted Education Week, students applied for a sponsored place to attend the Gifted and Talented Student Conference held in Brisbane on 11 May 2018. Congratulations to the abovementioned students who engaged in a day of thinking and exploring multiple perspectives as representatives of QAHS.

Academy Conferences provide world class “thinking days” at which students engage with a wide range of topics and a balanced academic programme aimed at stimulating thought beyond the constraints of the curriculum. The focus is upon topics which can be approached from many different disciplines so that students begin to see connections between different areas of study and the bigger picture. The content is fast paced and differentiated to meet the needs of highly able learners with a focus on important and enduring concepts. There is no duplication of traditional school topics, and students benefit from a university style of learning in which their knowledge is broadened and their critical abilities upgraded with new thinking tools.

Conference delegates explored session topics on Logic, possessing A Gold Medal Mindset, and the Physics of Music with lecturers Julie Arliss, Jeffrey Hodges and Dr Mark Lewney. A feature of the annual conference is the debate topic with QAHS Year 12 student Pearl Hoile taking to the lectern to convincingly address the belief that everyone should tell the truth all of the time.

Enjoy reading the following reflections from two of the QAHS Conference representatives:

“The Academy Conference was a remarkable experience for me that will forever be engraved in my mind for the magnificent intellectual ideas that we were presented with at the day. It was very informative, yet entertaining. We got to take a deeper look into philosophy and how philosophers view truth and life in general, which closely relates to our Theory of Knowledge curriculum that we study at Queensland Academies. We addressed questions such as, “What is a fact?” and we went on to explore the three ways in which we can examine the truth, which were; induction, deduction and abduction. The second lecture went on to explore the question “Is life after death a coherent idea?” Although at first, I personally thought that there was going to be a simple logical answer to the question that I can take away at the end, but the truth was far from that. We explored the five different theories that philosophers have had over time regarding the question, and I call them theories because they never were able to prove any of them, so the question hasn’t been answered. It was such an amazing lecture to listen to as it unpacked the question to very small details and went to dimensions that I never thought existed.

The day was not fully TOK based, with one lecture addressing character building and how to achieve success in anything that we aspire to in life. This was very helpful, not just for me but for many other young minds that were in the room on the day, because everyone faces a moment where they want to give up on their dreams because it becomes very challenging and difficult but the lecture taught us how to focus on our goals and dreams and how to get over these difficulties. Lastly, we had an entertaining end to the day as we had our last lecture with the title “Rock in 11 dimensions.” Which was exactly what it sounds like, a physics lecture regarding how Rock music exists in 11 dimensions, or so the theories say. The day, in general, was very lively, educational and an eye-opener to all the amazing ideas and opportunities that I am presented with as a Queensland Academies student for which I am very thankful.”
Noor Saadi – Year 11

“The Gifted and Talented ‘Thinkers’ Conference held at Churchie in Brisbane was a great opportunity to consider different perspectives on philosophical topics. Ten students from QAHS had the privilege of attending the conference, which involved a series of eye-opening lectures from theoretical thinkers Julie Arliss and Jeffrey Hodges, and a session with musical scientist Dr. Mark Lewney. The conference also hosted a student-inclusive debate, questioning the importance and consequences of everyone telling the truth, with QAHS Year 12 student Pearl Hoile contributing to the discussion.

Overall, the Thinkers Conference was a great opportunity to discuss the psychology of decision making and theoretical science. On behalf of the QAHS delegates, we have Mrs Rebgetz to thank for transporting us to the event and the Academy Conferences organisation for their insightful presentations.”
Sam McMath – Year 12

Mrs Vanessa Rebgetz
Gifted and Talented Committee Chairperson