Bird project a winning entry
Students from Matarau School fare well when it comes to science.
Up against older students from schools double Matarau's size, year 7 student Bradley Martin has beaten the odds and taken the top overall award in the 2012 Central Northland Science Fair.
This year there were 136 exhibits from 14 different schools and Matarau School won 17 awards, despite the year 7 and 8 students competing against students up to year 13.
Bradley's project Bird Stop not only won the best overall award, it also won the overall Best Technology prize and year 7 technology award.
The 11-year-old investigated ways to stop birds getting into water tanks through the overflow pipe, designing a bird stop using a ballcock, sinker and string.
His device is now being patented and is supported by farming business RD1.
Bradley also researched the diseases birds can spread through their droppings.
Matarau School principal Kevin Trewhella says while winning so many awards is a major achievement for a school with only 50 "senior" students, it is not a first.
"Really these are patterns of achievement which occur against the odds and consistently."
Head of senior school Scotty Delemare says the school takes home at least 10 awards from the fair every year.
"Students from small rural schools definitely don't lose out."
The consistent results are no fluke, he says.
The students are taught science from new entrants and it is compulsory for senior students to enter the fair.
Mr Trewhella hopes the consistent science results will change the way people see small schools.
"Rural schools continually battle a misconception that education in bigger town schools must be better because these schools are bigger and in town.
"This simply isn't true."
Central Northland Science Fair administrator Jan Lowe says Bradley is too young to go on to the Realise the Dream - The National School Science and Technology Awards in Wellington in December.
"Normally the child who takes the overall prize would've taken the Realise the Dream prize but there's an age restriction on that," she says.
"Bradley did very, very well and he deserves all the praise."
Huanui College P5
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