Science Bowl hopefuls compete at Newnan HS

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Student volunteers from Newnan High School included, clockwise from left, Lacy McLendon, Caroline Davis, Annie Haas, Chase Copeland, Bennett Souter, Christella Dhammaputti, Dao Khamsay and Khadijah Phillips-Smith.

By REBECCA LEFTWICH
rebecca@newnan.com
More than 20 teams of middle school hopefuls battled it out at Newnan High School Saturday at the National Science Bowl Georgia Regional, and in the end it was the Wesleyan Middle School team which earned the top spot and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the national finals in April.
Second place team was Woodstock Middle School and third was Prince Avenue Middle School. A Wesleyan team also won the afternoon battery car competition, which was sponsored by Yamaha Motor Manufacturing.
Although no Coweta middle schools were in last weekend’s competition, Newnan High Science Bowl team members and other student volunteers assisted teachers and officials as the school hosted the event for the first time. Dan Coleman, Newnan High science department head, said the “entire science department” had looked forward to hosting the state event.
Donald White, science content specialist for the Coweta County School System, said the event showed the dedication of students and teachers and commitment from the business community.
“These students are going above and beyond the things that are required in class,” he said. “To support them, these teachers are here on their off weekend. And Yamaha’s connection with [the event] is the kind of relationship we’re trying to foster throughout Coweta County Schools.”

NHS has been involved in National Science Bowl competition since the 1980s, and this year’s team competed in high school regionals at Georgia State University Saturday.

The National Science Bowl is an annual event aimed at encouraging students to pursue careers in science and math, according to Dirk Fillpot of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the event’s sponsor.

Through March 9, more than 120 regional competitions will take place throughout the United States as well as in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In regionals, teams of four students each answer mathematical problems and are tested on their knowledge in astronomy, biology, Earth science and physics.

Donna Mullenax, state Science Bowl director, said the quiz competition gives students the opportunity to excel.

“There should be an avenue for every child to express their academic ability,” she said. “There are opportunities for athletic and artistic expression, and this gives students a chance outside the classroom to show their skills.”

Christella Dhammaputti, a senior Science Bowl member who wants to pursue a career in medicine, said her scientific-mindedness drew her to the quiz competition. Freshman Lacy McLendon said she likes to know how things work and asks a lot of questions, and that’s why Science Bowl is a good fit for her. And junior team member Dao Khamsay said she enjoys the company and the competition.

“I love science, and it’s fun to be somewhere I can express that besides in class,” Khamsay said. “During competition, I learn from the questions I don’t know and the ones I do boost my confidence.”

For more information on the National Science Bowl, visit http://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/ .


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