Opening Speech by President of AstroChallenge 2009

Good afternoon participants,

Welcome to AstroChallenge 2009! I would like to first introduce you my committee that has worked very hard at making this competition fun and exciting for you.

Zongyao – President
Junrong, Jinpeng – Vice President
Weijia, Shavon – Secretary
Xinting, Chingting – Treasurer
Shiyan, Victor, Poh Ling – Logistics
Kuan Khoon – Photographer
Steve – Publicity
Quizmasters – Jay, Iqbal, MayHan, Cherlynn, Wang Xu, Weiding, Shi Thong, Lynn

This year, AstroChallenge attracted 40 teams from over 22 schools, maintaining the record numbers of participants coming for AstroChallenge at its all-time high. We also have more schools joining us in the Newcomer Category compared to last year, which is a great sign that Astronomy is starting to garner more attention in Singapore.

This is the 7th time AstroChallenge is being held, which means we have inherited 6 years worth of wealth in terms of experience. This year, it’s time for us to take AstroChallenge to the next level. To that, I will announce the addition of many more activities in this year’s AstroChallenge – namely, the changes to qualification for the finals, a website, a Challenge Trophy for the Junior and Senior Category, and a theme for the competition.

First, the qualification for finals in AstroChallenge. This year, we will only allow the best performing team of the top 6 schools in each category to participate. This will allow more schools to have a chance at competing in our finals. We have also acknowledged that some schools have more than 10 students who want to participate in AstroChallenge, and to that, we have removed the cap of 2 teams per school in all categories, so that all students who want to join AstroChallenge can come and have fun with all of us. Also, to let the newcomers experience the full event of AstroChallenge, there will be finals for the newcomer category this year.

As part of the AstroChallenge Committee’s effort to reach out to the public regarding Astronomy, we have launched our very own website! This website contains all the information you will need to know about AstroChallenge. We will also be implementing a “live-update” on the blog of our website, and throughout the competition, anybody would be able to log on and see photographs of AstroChallenge 2009 at work.

I am also announcing the addition of a new concept never yet implemented in ANY astronomy competition in Singapore. This year, the champions of the Junior and Senior Categories get to walk home with their individual trophies, a team prize, AND a Challenge Trophy that they can showcase in their school for a year. They will have to bring the Trophy back to the competition next year, where they will defend their right to keep the trophy again for the next year. Do you want your school to permanently keep the Challenge Trophy? There are 3 ways for you to do that.

1) If you win the Challenge Trophy for 3 consecutive years, you get to keep the trophy forever.
2) If no school wins the Challenge Trophy for 3 consecutive years after 10 years, the school that has won most times out of 10 gets to keep the Challenge Trophy.
3) If there is a tie, the school that wins the tie in the next year gets to keep the Challenge Trophy.

We hope that this will spur you on to do your best!

Finally, I will announce the most exciting change to the format of the competition this year. Starting this year, the rounds in AstroChallenge will be made to follow a theme, so that you can enjoy a role-playing game style of wandering through a story while in the competition. This year, the theme that we have decided on, is Star Trek. Have you watched the new Star Trek movie? Well, starting now, you are all cadets of Star Fleet Academy. You will go through missions on behalf of the United Federation of Planets, and earn your right to be promoted to the rank of Captain, just like James Kirk did in the movie.

Good luck too all participants, and I hope you will have fun in this year’s AstroChallenge!

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