Numero uno

Numero uno

Numero Challenge
Numero’s Julie Richards and Campion Education’s Mike Ellis (right) with Carey Baptist College winners Alexis, Hewahn, Adam and Thomas. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A team of students from Carey Baptist College have puzzled their way to pole position in the 15th annual Frank Drysdale Secondary Interschool Numero Challenge, making it the school’s eighth victory in the maths-based, card game competition.

Numero was invented in 1993 by East Cannington resident Frank Drysdale, who came up with the card game to play with his grandchildren.

Mr Drysdale’s daughter, Julie Richards, said his grandchildren would visit him following his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease as a way to keep his mind active, and through those sessions he developed the game.

After realising how much fun it was to play, he worked with his family to turn it into fully-fledged product and gifted the rights – and future profits – to Alzheimer’s WA.

“He said, ‘I’m going to gift it to charity, I don’t need the money, they do,’” the Oakford resident said.

“It was as simple as that; he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”

Having taken up her father’s legacy to publish, promote and host school competitions for Numero, Julie spoke excitedly about Wednesday’s challenge at Duncraig SHS.

“It was so close, extremely close, the Carey Baptist College team won by only five points.

“The runner up was Duncraig SHS and third place went to Perth Modern School.

“It was great fun, it’s always fun. The sportsmanship and behaviour of these students is second-to-none.

“To see the comradery between schools, they all talk to each other, you see hands being shaken at the end of each game, it’s phenomenal,” Julie said.

Having proven a hit in schools, Numero is the subject of two, annual, interschool competitions – the AFG Interschool Primary Numero Challenge and the Frank Drysdale Secondary Interschool Numero Challenge – that have been running for decades under the sponsorship of local education resource business, Campion Education.

Head of Maths at Carey Baptist College said students at the school have been playing Numero since 2007.

“I have a Numero group on a Thursday, about 15 or so kids come and play in groups at lunch time.

“It’s very good for kids practising their mentals skills, practising their tables as they do it, using square roots and cube roots and all of that.

“You’ve got to think, ‘I’m going to add those two together, then multiply them with this’ – it’s challenging for those top students, there are some brilliant plays you can do.

“A lot of our kids enjoy playing Uno but there isn’t the mental stimulation there. With Numero it’s a lot more stimulating and academic.”

With a tireless schedule revolving around her advocacy of the game, Julie has recently received a grant to develop a software application for Numero.

“It will allow students to play the game virtually against the computer or against another student within their school,” Julie said.

“It will also allow the student to play a solitaire version of Numero. Both these options will benefit the real-world version of the game, which will continue to develop the maths conversations, socialisation and dexterity required to play Numero with the actual cards.

“At the end of the event on Wednesday, the Kelmscott SHS team had to wait for their bus and do you know what they were doing? They were playing Numero,” Julie said.

“We lost Dad 11 years ago but I like to think he’s still pleased with what’s happening.”