The ‘Grand Challenge’ is all about learning, researching and exploring the big issues within a university environment and was created by Monash University in conjunction with Nossal High School. Throughout the ‘Grand Challenge’, Nossal students work in their House with academic staff and current Monash University students to undertake a series of academic challenges.

The ‘Grand Challenge’ engages students and their House in the process of discovery, enquiry, research, exploration and engagement with complex issues in a competitive environment with House pitted against House.

The Grand Challenge question is deliberately broad and can be interpreted and approached in a number of different ways. Through the challenge, students have the opportunity to attend a series of lectures, forums and seminars run by Monash lecturers and students to support their project development and reflect a research environment. Teams are encouraged to choose aspects they’re passionate about or wish to investigate further. It’s up to the students to decide what to undertake and how to go about it.

The Monash Challenge occurs at the end of every year after exams for all Year 9 students. Students enrich and enhance their skills and abilities in the elements incorporated into the program and are also given the chance to present their artistic flair through a series of creative responses. The house that emerges victorious wins the Monash ‘Grand Challenge’ trophy, as well as gaining a head start in next year’s house points.

The 2015 Grand Challenge topic was ‘Justice is not Just us’

When I first heard about the Monash challenge, I had absolutely no idea what it was about and what it was that we were supposed to do. I loved how the question we were given was a pun, and also how although the question sounds simple when you first hear it, but is actually quite deep and challenging to actually work with.

When listening to the lectures, most of the ideas the lecturers told us about all seemed so strange and complicated, yet somewhat insightful to me. While we were brainstorming as a house, I got more and more confused about what we were doing. I felt more relieved when we split into smaller groups, as more people got a say in what they thought the topic was about.

Working in our small groups was a fun experience, as I got to know some people who I never really talked to more, and also because everyone cooperated and gave it their all. Everyone had their own little job to do, based on their personal strengths, and altogether as a house, we were striving to that one goal of wanting our house to do well. Overall, I feel that the Monash Challenge was a challenging, fun, interesting and completely new experience, and all the time we spent on it was definitely worth it.

Victoria Peng – Class of 2018