Overnewton students sail to national title

Overnewton College students Marc De Goederen, Dzie Phani and Michael Hawiel achieved a first and second place finish at last month's Australian-International Model Solar Challenge.

Overnewton Anglican Community College has a new national champion in its midst.

Michael Haweil raced his solar-powered boat The Car to victory in last month’s Australian-International Model Solar Challenge in Adelaide.

After a strong placing at the state titles in October, Michael went to the national titles full of confidence.

“I expected really tough competition over there, but I also really believed in my boat,” Michael said.

The elements threatened to derail Michael’s title pursuit.

“The boat performed to maximum efficiency in school testing, however solar power is unreliable at times and when we got to Adelaide it was really cloudy,” he said.

“I had to change the boat’s settings to accommodate for the cloud cover and also make a few alterations to the boat so it was lighter.”

The contingency plan paid off handsomely, with Michael and The Car beating competitors from more than 50 schools from around Australia and overseas.

Ironically, Michael came up against classmates Dzie Pham and Marc De Goederen in the grand final, edging out their boat, Beefy, by less than half a second. The hard-fought result meant Overnewton came away with first and second place in the prestigious event.

Teacher Jay Critchley helped guide the students through creating their vehicles and said the results were just reward for hard work.

“Our year 9 students were the youngest at the event and were competing against year 10, 11 and 12 students, so it’s a fantastic result,” she said. “It’s an intense project … they’ve been an absolute dream to teach.”