May 2nd saw me make my way to Dublin Castle for the National Scratch Finals. The decision was made to run the finals on the same day as the Formula 1 in Schools finals which were taking place at the end of the first Irish Tech Week. I’d been asked a few weeks previously to judge the competition and despite some hesitation I decided to agree. My hesitation came from my lack of experience of judging a competition like this, or in fact any competition. I’m so glad that I did agree as I got a chance to see first hand the creativity on display.
I arrived in Dublin Castle at about 10.30 to be briefed on the task in hand. I was down to judge in the 5th and 6th class category with two other judges. We were to judge the entries separately and then meet to agree the winner in the category. Then came the hard work of judging. I have to admit I really enjoyed this part as it gave me an opportunity to chat with the students about their projects. There were five projects in total and in my naivety I thought I’d get through them reasonably quickly giving me the chance to see some of the other projects on display. This wasn’t to be the case because I found that once I started asking questions the children just wanted to talk about their projects. It was clear that they all really enjoyed working on them and that they had learnt a lot in the process. From my perspective, this made them all winners 🙂 Of course, they couldn’t all be winners but choosing our overall winner wasn’t as difficult as I had originally thought. Sometimes one project stands out from the others and this was the case for us. Having said that, it was a close contest and it was great to see two projects from our category awarded the ‘Best Educational Content’ award and the ‘Best Social Project’ award. I even got to present the Best Technical Sophistication award
All in all it was a great day with the beautiful Dublin Castle providing a stunning backdrop for the days proceedings.