St Angela's Castle Hill shine at National STEM showcase

Five teams from Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (CSPD) have been recognised for their outstanding science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects, named winners and finalists at the STEM MAD National showcase held in Melbourne on November 9.

Competing against more than 60 primary and 40 secondary schools from around Australia, the CSPD teams flew to Melbourne to showcase their projects in front of hundreds of other students, teachers and parents.

St Angela’s Primary Castle Hill won the Major Award for Future is STEM Primary for their Biotricity project and was also named Best STEM Ambassador Primary.

Catherine McAuley Westmead’s Heat Stressed project finished second in the National Secondary Award and won the category Best Innovation for Health Award Secondary. They were also finalists for the Award for Social Justice Secondary.

CathWest Innovation College’s Zoo of Poo project won the Conservation Award Secondary and was a finalist for Best Demonstration of Science in Context Secondary.

Marian College Kenthurst won the Award for Demonstrating Catholic Ethos Award with their SEWP Sustainable Electricity & Water Provider project.

St Bernadette's Castle Hill shine at National STEM showcase

St Bernadette’s Primary Castle Hill also celebrated being a finalist for the Award for Demonstrating the Catholic Ethos Primary and STEM for Sustainability award for their Recycle Pro project.

"For all of our teams to do so well in the STEM MAD National awards is a huge credit to the student teams, the teachers involved and the support from their schools," said Lisa Nash, CSPD Learning Exchange Manager. "The quality of the entries nationally was phenomenal this year."

“The variety of areas that teams looked at to provide solutions to make a difference was incredible. From our CSPD schools National STEM MAD entries alone we had entries ranging from recycling education, eco-friendly biofuel generation, improving the gut health of zoo animals through scientific analysis, a sustainable electricity solution and a solution to reducing the risk of heat stress in a school playground.”

CSPD students shine at National STEM showcase

Inspired by a passion for STEM and a desire to make a difference in the world, the five teams were selected as CSPD representatives for STEM MAD National after presenting their projects at the CSPD STEM MAD Showcase in August.

More than 300 students from throughout Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains converged on CathWest Innovation College in Mt Druitt for the event.

The first live CSPD STEM MAD Showcase since the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge hit as 25 primary and 10 secondary teams from 18 schools presented their innovative STEM projects. The day also included a range of exciting STEM challenges and activities including bridge building, bottle rockets, a chess competition, F1 in Schools car presentation and races, and Makey Makey Game Controller and Coded Drones.

“The highlight is all the students being here in person,” said Paul Stenning, CathWest Innovation College Principal. “For the last two years, STEM MAD events for the Parramatta Diocese have been virtual events and they've been great, but the buzz in this space right now is fantastic. Students are sharing their thinking about solutions to real-world problems.”

"STEM MAD provides so many students with a wonderful opportunity to come together, be inspired and learn more about science,” said Christine Howe, CSPD Deputy Executive Director and Director of Learning. “The MAD in STEM MAD stands for 'make a difference' and this is how we as a system of Catholic schools can use our science, engineering, maths and technology skills to make our world a better place.”

Year 3 and Year 1 students Rebecca, David, Jacob and Georgia from St Bernadette’s Primary Castle Hill created an online game that will educate students about how to sort rubbish and enable recycling, resulting in less waste in landfills.

“We are very aware of the pollution in our world and we wanted to work out how we students can help with this problem,” said David.

The CathWest Innovation College ‘Zoo of Poo’ team consisting of Year 10 and 11 students Mia R, Paige, Taylor, Olivia and Mia C partnered with Quantel Bioscience and Sydney Zoo to study and research the microbes in animals’ stomachs to help improve the nutrition of zoo animals. Their project won the award for Best STEM Idea (Secondary).

"We all love and have a passion for helping animals and wanted to help them in a non-intrusive way,” said Mia R. “The science behind our project enables us to assess things like diet, what makes animals sick or unhealthy, lots of things. We hope one day this will become much bigger than it is now and be able to help animals around the world.”

The St Angela’s ‘Biotricity’ project, which won the Best STEM Product award (Primary), uses the power of compost to generate power.

“It's essentially a bioreactor that generates electricity to charge laptops or cars or possibly even an entire city,” said the team of Monte, Joshua, Mathis and Liam. "Biotricity will solve two main problems. The current energy crisis and waste crisis by using biological waste to generate energy.”

McAuley Westmead students shine at National STEM showcase

The Heat Stressed project from Catherine McAuley Westmead students Daphne, Ann, Isabel, Annie, Anushree, Sarah and Karen looks at heat stress in their school and the local Parramatta area. They devised a new shade structure that maximises light but reflects heat and includes a system for collecting water to feed low-maintenance plants that help make the space nice and comfortable. Their team won the award for Best Presentation (Secondary).

“We think this will help people with physical and mental health problems associated with heat stress,” the students explained. “Our research showed how heat stress can even occur in the shade where we sit during recess and lunch.”

The SEWP (Sustainable Electricity and Water Provider) project was developed by Marian Catholic College Kenthurst Year 8 and 9 students Carlo, Joshua, Eleanor, Emily, Troy, Cameron, Mikhael and Jayvin. It addressed the issue of a lack of resources in rural Australian schools. Their SEWP device provides clean water, sustainable electricity and internet through the use of solar panels, a water filtration system and a satellite connected to a router.

“It’s great that students can see what other students in other schools are doing,” said Paul Stenning. “It lifts the bar so every year the projects are at a new level. This is helping provide our community and our country with future engineers, mathematicians, scientists and technologists.”

Along with interacting with other students and learning about their STEM projects, students took part in a series of exciting STEM challenges throughout the day such as bottle rockets, bridge building and an F1 in Schools Challenge.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary Wentworthville

Students from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary Wentworthville (Primary) and Marian Catholic College (Secondary) won the bridge testing challenge with structures that held 13kg and 16.2kg respectively.

Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown students took out the bottle rocket challenge (Secondary) with a rocket that travelled 69 metres. St Angela’s Primary Castle Hill won the primary category with a rocket that travelled 68 metres.

"It was such an amazing day," said Lisa Nash, CSPD Learning Exchange Manager. "It was wonderful to see the buzz, energy and engagement from students participating in all the activities."

Students from Patrician Bros Blacktown shine at National STEM showcase

“I hope our students take away a sense of wonder, a sense of investigation and a sense of creating,” said Damien McGuire, CSPD Leading Teacher School of Now. “Not just being passive learners, but active learners in our classes and to see those things that they've learned being applied in a real-life context.”

“In a lot of cases, students might be good at maths or might understand science but to be able to put maths and science together with technology to build for a future, to come up with new and innovative creations. It’s inspiring to see how much students engage with that,” said Steven Bauer, CSPD School of Now Manager.

Students from Holy Family Primary East Granville shine at National STEM showcase

The Cyber Aware team from Holy Family Primary East Granville won the Best STEM Idea award (Primary) while the St Michael’s Primary Baulkham Hills ‘H2Oasis’ team won the award for Best Presentation (Primary).

"Our Cyber Aware app prevents students from being cyberbullied,” explained student Emelia. “It teaches what to do when you're cyberbullied, who to go to and teaches you facts about cyberbullying.”

"The problem is that millions of people all over the world don't have access to clean water and this will help them to get the water they need," said Daniel Kim, Year 5 student at St Michael’s.


Best STEM product (Primary)
Biotricity - St Angela’s Primary Castle Hill

Best STEM product (Secondary)
EOS - School of Now

Best Presentation (Primary)
H2Oasis - St Michael's Primary Baulkham Hills

Best Presentation (Secondary)
Heat Stressed (Green Motion) - Catherine McAuley Westmead

Best STEM Idea (Primary)
Cyber Aware - Holy Family Primary East Granville

Best STEM Idea (Secondary)
Zoo of Poo - CathWest Innovation College

Selection for STEMMAD National 2023
Zoo of Poo - CathWest Innovation College (Secondary)
Heat Stressed (Green Motion) - Catherine McAuley Westmead (Secondary)
SEWP (Sustainable Electricity and Water Provider) - Marian Catholic College Kenthurst (Secondary)
Biotricity - St Angela’s Primary Castle Hill (Primary)
Recycle Pro - St Bernadette’s Primary Castle Hill (Primary)

Bridge Testing
Primary - Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary Wentworthville <13kg
Secondary - Marian Catholic College Kenthurst (Girls team) 16.2kg

Bottle Rocket Champions


  • 1st Place - Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown 69 metres
  • 2nd Place - Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown 68 metres
  • 2nd Place - St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill 68 metres
  • 3rd Place - Catherine McAuley Westmead 36 metres


  • 1st Place - St Angela's Primary Castle Hill 68 metres
  • 2nd Place - St Angela's Primary Castle Hill 31 metres
  • 3rd Place - St Aidan's Primary Rooty Hill 28 metres


View photos from this event View all photos

Written By

Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese

Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese



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