Convertible coffee table wins Takapuna student top technology award

Press Release – Techlink
A teenager atteneed a prestigious awards ceremony with the Governor General after being named the top Technology scholar in the country.

17-year-old Theodore Carlos from Rosmini College, in Takapuna, Auckland, met the Queens representative for New Zealand, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, in a special ceremony in Wellington in April.

The Year 13 pupil was the one of 34 students across the country to win a 2011 New Zealand Scholarship Top Subject Scholarship Award. Theodore won the prestigious title after he designed and built an innovative coffee table which also turned into a Playstation seating area and storage unit for a year 12 school project.

Theodore was one of three students from Rosmini College to be handed a scholarship in Technology from the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA). Another four pupils gained scholarships in Graphics and the school had 30 scholarships overall across all subjects.

Foss Shanahan scooped the accolade after he designed an architectural LED lamp for his dad’s architecture office. And Charles Tucker was handed an outstanding scholarship for his design of a bedside cabinet with a movable sliding table to help his sister recover from an operation.

But Theodore is the first Technology student in his school’s history to secure the $2,000 subject scholarship, which is paid yearly for up to three years, and will be the only Rosmini pupil to attend the ceremony. He came up with the idea to stop his Playstation equipment from cluttering up his lounge.

Theodore’s Technology teacher Alex Breig explained: “You just take the top off, flip the wheel up and adjust the seat inside to ergonomically fit the size of the driver. When you’ve finished you can fold everything up inside, put the top back on and the lounge is back to its original tidy state.

“He did some Google SketchUp drawings and made a scale model to show how it would look and how well it would fit into their lounge. With his mother now convinced, it was just a matter of making sure that everything could fit neatly inside the table.”

The teenager created a prototype which was tested by his classmates. Theodore said: “It was only at that late stage, seeing my classmates going into the prototype and actually fitting well, that I got a real feeling of satisfaction.

“We had great support from Mr Breig – with the amount of the time he put into all of his students really – especially the good and easy communication, with the quick replies to any of our questions during and outside school times.”
However, all the teachers across the school’s Technology department supported the students in the scholarship applications. And this year another three Year 13 Technology students are working towards gaining a scholarship.

Mr Breig said: “The younger students’ watch what the seniors are doing – they see the projects developing in the workshop and it certainly motivates them to achieve at that high level.”

For more information on Technology education across New Zealand visit www.techlink.org.nz

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