In the garage of former Tokay High School science teacher Susan Heberle you will not likely find a vehicle nor piles of boxes of old stuff.
Instead, on a Sunday afternoon, you will find wires running along the carpeted floor to fold-up plastic tables. They lead to small, black rectangular boxes, each with a red plastic button and a red indicator light.
Just above the gleaming red buttons are the hovering hands of students waiting for the right answer to a physics question pop into their heads.
A sudden flick of the wrist and three high school students buzz in for the question , but only one box lights up. The questions is: “What is the name of the phenomenon that happens when light passes through fog.”
With five seconds to answer, Andrew Moton, a senior at Tokay, says the correct answer, “The Tyndall Effect.”
Students from Tokay High School’s Science Bowl team are spending their Sundays preparing for the national tournament in May where they will compete against more than 14,000 of the nation’s top regional Science Bowl champions. The competition will be held in Washington, D.C., this year.
Their coach, Heberle, is ecstatic that these students were able to go after a series of very tight matches at regionals this year.
“These kids are so great. They want to do well, they are polite and they give back. They even showed that young man how to solve a math problem,” Heberle said, referring to an elementary grade student who was training with the high schoolers.
Some of Tokay’s seasoned competitors:
First started Science Bowl: Eighth grade
Why did you join: My older brother did Science Bowl and I did Astronomy in Science Olympiad in middle school. We didn’t do very well at first but my mom said I know someone who can help you in Astronomy. It was Mrs. Heberle. We got second place in the state for middle school.
Future college and major: I found out I got into UC Berkeley’s EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) program.
Hobbies/activities: Science Olympiad, I play violin with the Central Valley Youth Symphony, I play piano, I do track and tennis, and my favorite TV show is “Teen Wolf.”
First started Science Bowl: Freshman year
Why did you join: I started because my mom is friends with (Rachael’s) mom who said she had kids in Science Bowl. I did Science Olympiad in eighth grade. I’m kind of the disease person.
Area of expertise: Astronomy, chemistry and math.
Future college and major: Probably premed with cognitive science or biology. I got into UC San Diego, one of my top choices.
Hobbies/activities: I play piano, and I just do random things. I really like watching “Elementary,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Teen Wolf.”
First started Science Bowl: Sophomore year
Why did you join : I used to eat lunch with all of them and they talked about it all the time. I was left out. I was curious to find out more, and I finally came to practice over one summer. I didn’t know anything, but I really wanted to. I just stuck with it.
Areas of expertise: Earth science, biology and chemistry.
Future college and major: I got into Cornell and I plan to major in food science with a minor in plant biology.
Hobbies/activities: I play tennis, and I’ve been swimming since grade 3 and I like watching movies and TV, baking and cooking with Andrew Moton and hanging out with friends. My favorite shows are “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Gossip Girl” and “Gilmore Girls.”
First started Science Bowl: Junior year
Why did you join: My junior year, Mrs. Heberle came to my biology class talking about how the team before our year had went to regionals and to nationals. I was intimidated at first but I started studying and found out that I really like the physics of small things.
Areas of expertise: Physics, astronomy and math
Future college and major: I plan to major in physics and study subatomic particles and one of my top schools is UC Santa Barbara.
Hobbies/activities: I play badminton, and I used to do cross country running. I do a lot of wasting time on the Internet and my favorite movies are “Whiplash” and “Imitation Game.” My favorite show is “Breaking Bad.”