Teenager snags big break

MUCH to his surprise Sam Barnier has managed to get an all expenses paid trip to Canberra out of a class science assignment.

Sam is a year 8 student at Grafton High School and is a keen bass fisherman and an innovative scientist.

He designed and made a new fishing lure, the Spin Diver, as a part of his class work.

Without knowing it, he impressed a lot of people in the invention and design world with his innovative and thought out design concept and prototype.

As a result he has, secured himself a place at the Questacon Smart Moves Convention.

The Spin Diver combines two different types of lures, a hard body and a soft plastic to lure the fish in.

“It is pretty much a better version of a bait spinner,” Sam said.

His teacher, Kevin Brown, invited the students in his class to do a project about innovation to be sent off to the Questacon Smart Moves program.

“Sam was one of the students that showed a lot of dedication and initiative to the project,” Mr Brown said.

In the end, 12 of the 28 students in the class submitted a project and were sent off to Canberra.

Sam's final report earned him a CSIRO Bronze Crest Award and he was invited by the CSIRO to apply to attend the 2009 Questacon Smart Moves Invention Convention.

“We were contacted, and Sam was invited to send in an application to attend the Questacon Smart Moves Convention in April,” Mr Brown said.

“The school was told last Friday that Sam was one of the 29 students that would be receiving an all expenses paid trip to attend the convention.

“We were pretty excited because the applications are open to all secondary students throughout Australia and to my knowledge, no student from Grafton has ever been invited to attend.”

The Smart Moves convention aims to connect young inventors with entrepreneurs, inventors, business people and other mentors who help the youngsters find ways to get their ideas out there and noticed.

It also gives these kids the chance to set up networks and gain contacts that many inventors can only dream of.

For the five day convention, Sam will be living with the 28 other students involved in the program in Canberra and will be involved most activities.

For a 13-year-old who has never been on a plane, and has never taken a trip without his parents, he is pretty excited.

“I am really excited and still a bit surprised that they picked me,” Sam said.

“I never expected anything like this to come out of me making one fishing lure.

“I think it will be really good to go and maybe get my idea out there in the future.”

Sam's father, Scott Barnier, who is also a teacher at Grafton High, is excited about his son's achievement, but being a keen fisherman, he enjoys testing out the product.

“Dad is excited, but he is pretty good at containing it,” Sam said.

While Sam is looking forward to the experience, there is another factor fuelling his excitement.

“I can't wait to get away from my brother for a while,” he said.

Questacon are just as excited about the upcoming convention as is Sam, his family and Grafton High School.

Kylie Holly, from Questacon in Canberra had only positive things to say about the applicants for this year's convention.

“The standard of the ideas from this year's group of delegates is amazing,” she said..

“We all are really excited about the talent and ability that we will be giving a helping hand into the world of invention.”

“I am really excited and ... surprised ”

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