Not everyone knows how to turn ordinary rubberbands and balsa wood into an operable model airplane, but several local science students do.
Those students, from middle and high schools from throughout the county, came head to head Saturday at the 20th Annual Science Olympiad - a day-long event that saw Tokay High and Elkhorn schools taking home first-place prizes.
The event was held at University of the Pacific and was topped by an awards ceremony at the Scottish Rite center in Stockton.
Tokay students bested eight other campuses to take home the second-place spot, too, garnering $1,250 in grants from the Cortopassi Family Foundation. The money, in the form of gift certificates, can be spent on school supplies and instructional materials.
The wins came after a grueling four-month preparation, which meant some groups practicing for more than an hour about four times a week, Tokay Olympiad coach Susan Heberle said Monday.
"The secret to success is practice," Heberle added. "Hard work pays off."
Other Lodi Unified schools that competed in the event included Bear Creek High School, which won third-place and eighth-place recognition in the high school competition. Lodi High School placed fifth and 13th among the teams.
The Science Olympiad is the nation's largest science competition for students. They compete in hands-on science, combining teamwork as well as individual know-how to answer questions ranging from weather and genetics to physics and chemistry.
In one competition, students are faced with several mineral samples and asked to identify the rocks by name. In another, a team is challenged to design and build a robot that can carry objects from one place to another in a timed test.
Other events are mainly cerebral, like the Fermi question round, where kids have to use logic to give rough estimates of things that cannot be practically measured. Some may be asked to guess how deep water would be if Lake Tahoe were emptied evenly across California.
Students from Elkhorn School's blue team placed first in the middle school division, followed by Lodi Middle School, which placed fifth, and Elkhorn's gold team in 13th.
The top three teams in each division will move on to the California Science Olympiad, to be held April 1 at California State University, Stanislaus.
Top Lodi Unified teams
The teams, and the names of the students, from Lodi Unified Schools that placed in the top 5 overall in 20th Annual Science Olympiad Saturday at University of the Pacific are as follows:
Gold (1st place): Angel Booth; Brandon Chan; Sotonye Cintron; Adam Ju; Cal Kielhold; Jacob Lane; NhuAnh Le; Derek Leale; Calvin Mackey; Eva Maria Nguyen; Cory Pack; Michele Poteet; Gordon Wong and Katie Woznick.
Lodi Middle: $500
Blue (5th place): Chelsey Blue; Jacob Buus; Ellia Hueksteadt; Sukmandeep Kaur; Manpreet Lail; Cindy Luna; Fernando Palos; Christopher Patronas; Mario Rodriguez; Amy Rowell; Now Ruiz; Ramjot Singh; Kimberly Wong and Michelle Young.
Tokay High: $1,250
Purple(1st place): Eberhard Barba; William Chour; Niki DeMartinis; Andrew Gibson; Omar Haro; Anne Heberle; Roby Hemphill; Travis Hull; Ngoc Ahn Le; Elisa Moles; Jim Sanchez; Frank Sasaki; Vicki Soto; Toren Stearns and Alex Wong.
Gold (2nd place): Simi Batth; Corinne Casey; Allen Chang; Harpreet Chima; Samuel Cua; Jordan Cunningham; Trent Cunningham; Amanda Goforth; Pete Huecksteadt; Andrew McKelvey; Ana Nguyen; Nick Rankin; Quay Stearns; Edwin Wong; Lawson Wu; Abigail Cua; Harman Mann and Ivan Turjillo.
Bear Creek High: $1,000
Silver (3rd place): Jonathan Bruns; Meghen Chandarana; Cynric Cho; Erika Chu; Nicole Croom; Minhchau Dinh; Elizabeth Doughty; Noah Johnson; Michelle Miu; Christopher Spatola; Sindhu Sudanagunta; Kayla Thomas; Minh Tran; Peter Wu and Jeffrey Yip.
Lodi High: $500
Red (5th place): Matt Baron; Kamil Bahadar; Jillian Carli; Samantha Carli; Brandon Derrick; Jacqueline Hamilton; Holly Jacobus; Tehreem Javid; Erin McElligott; Steven Mulvik; Casey Ogata; Calvin Patel; Lance Peery; Crystal Prag and Josh Wong.
- Source: San Joaquin County Office of Education
First published: Tuesday, March 7, 2006