Flinders Design Duo Win Second in Innovation Awards

Two budding designers in Year 10 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College have been selected as finalists in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards 2024.

Students Stella and Avani are among 13 finalist groups in 2024 to be recognised for using creativity, innovation or technology to solve a community, environmental or business challenge. 



On 20 June, the students were awarded second place at the final live pitch and awards ceremony. They each won a trophy, Mega Boom 3 speaker, a Google Nest and a personal mentor start-up incubator experience to further advance their idea.


This is the fourth consecutive year that Flinders has had a student group named as finalists for their prototypes and out-of-the-box ideas. See below for our annual award wins.

Sunshine Coast Council has partnered with Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast to deliver the awards exclusively to Year 9 to Year 12 students within the region.

Prototype to Prepare for Life in the Real World

Stella and Avani’s solution is a unique online platform, named Reality Check, that provides educational resources to help prepare secondary school students for the real world. 

Their vision is to provide free resources and guides created ‘by young people for young people’ to support a smoother transition from school to the real world, which can be a daunting ‘reality check’ for many graduates. 

The finalists each won a six-hour mentorship over two weeks, with Stella and Avani guided by award-winning entrepreneur Yvette Adams to further develop their idea for the live pitch and awards ceremony on Thursday, 20 June with the chance to win more than $10,000 in shared prizes. 

Their prototype was inspired by a simple question the girls were often asked by friends and adults, “What do you want to do after school?”

Avani said, “We would just absolutely stress out over this question because we realised there were so many areas of life beyond school that we weren’t confident about, such as applying for a job and preparing for interviews, choosing insurance, renting an apartment and managing our own money.” 

Stella continues, “And we wondered, if we are feeling this way, maybe other students are too. 

“So when we had to develop a culminating project that solved a problem as part of our Year to RISE curriculum in Year 9 last year, we explored the idea. We surveyed students in our year level and the data revealed, yes, they were feeling the same way. And so we identified this as an obvious issue in society that needed to be fixed.”

Avani said, “We have plans to develop Reality Check and pitch it to other communities where young people are at, such as schools.” 

Money and budgeting is one of the first modules the students are developing with worksheets, quizzes and videos to guide users through areas of money management, from saving and budgeting to safely using credit cards.

Flinders' New Year to RISE Curriculum Sparks Bright Ideas

The idea for Reality Check was sparked last year when Stella and Avani were in Year 9. They were the first cohort to experience the new Year to RISE curriculum for the Year 9 journey.

Year 9 students are challenged to use the 21st century skills they develop throughout the Year to RISE to create a culminating student-driven iLead project.

Mr Peter Horton, of Flinders Innovation Club, said, “It was wonderful to see Stella and Avani develop the idea they originally explored in their Year to RISE curriculum.

"It took courage for them to submit their prototype to the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards and becoming a finalist has further opened their eyes to the world of mentoring, innovation and enterprise.

"These are ideas we explore through the curriculum and in our new Infinity Centre.

“The aim is for every student at Flinders to develop the skills and confidence to identify and solve problems in creative and positive ways to help make the world a better place.” 

Flinders’ new Year to RISE curriculum program for its Year 9 students was launched in January 2023. 

In May this year, Flinders was named an Excellence Awardee at the Australian Education Awards 2024 for Year to RISE in the ‘Innovation in Curriculum Design’ category. 

Previous students at Flinders to be named finalists in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards:

- Isabella in Year 10 in 2023 for her prototype, the ‘MyPark Finder’, an app that can be downloaded on all mobile phones to help people solve the frustration and save the time and fuel spent locating car parks; and

- Tyler, Amy and Bethany in Year 10 in 2022 who won second place for their ‘Orbital Caddy’ prototype in the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards and also won first place at the gen[in] Student Innovation Challenge led by the University of Queensland.

- Henri, Jessica and Lorenzo in Year 9 in 2021 with their dissolvable cutlery proposal aimed to solve the significant environmental problem of plastic cutlery used for takeaway meals and eating out.


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