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Mayor’s awards sparking innovation and bright ideas

Mayor's awards innovation
Kepnock State High School student B-Jay Malaluan with his Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards team.

Kepnock State High School student B-Jay Malaluan says the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards helped students to develop skills and grow ideas in his first-person account of participating in the program.

B-Jay was a member of the Kepnock team Izvan Okvira which presented its innovation project, the bushfire reconnaissance drone.

The account, written as part of a school project, provides a unique perspective to the awards program, through the eyes of the students involved.

Read B-Jay’s story here:

He walked stiffly onto the stage, his hands shaking as he held the microphone. His heart thumped loudly in his chest as everything around him became a distant echo. He looked towards the audience, teammates right beside him and he closed he eyes as he took a deep breath.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur after leaving school, or just had that innovative idea that could solve so many problems?

Maybe you have an idea for a new app or technology, but don’t know where or who to present your idea to?

The Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, or MTIA, has brought together a handful of eager students from all around the Bundaberg Region, which gave them the opportunity to foster their innovative skills.

Separated into teams, the students worked together to create, collaborate and innovate towards a pitch that showcased a new and creative use of technology or technological idea that could have the potential to solve a community, environmental or business


“MTIA was a fun learning experience where I learned how to build and sell my ideas to a group of people,” says Zander Ephraims, a team member from Kepnock State High School.

Throughout the sessions the teams collaborated and developed their bright ideas in preparation for the big event that was the Final Pitch, in which they presented their ideas towards a panel of judges.

Mayor's awards innovation
Kepnock State High School student B-Jay Malaluan working on his pitch.

However, it wasn’t just the students that noticed this change in their skills and the growth of their ideas.

Many of the staff including the teachers were beginning to notice the potential of the ideas that their students had.

According to Mrs Amey, “MTIA is a unique experience for students to take a risk, collaborate as a team, share ideas and build a solution focused proposal to enhance community.”

Although the teams from Kepnock State High didn’t secure their victory for the awards, they gained invaluable skills and experiences from participating in the awards.

“Being able to work with my wonderful team, learning from one another and collaborating, has helped us grow our skills as people and as team members,” says Lakaya Wolff.

Though they didn’t win the awards, they are taking a big step towards the future of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Maybe you can too, as anyone from grade seven through to grade twelve can join.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and make your ideas come true!

– Written by B-Jay Malaluan

Bundaberg Region schools can register an interest in participating in the 2022 Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards by emailing mtia@bundaberg.qld.gov.au.