2013-01-24 / Schools

Local schools top Stars Science Competition


Markham Place School won first prize at the Stars Science Competition. Members of the team (l-r): Henry Ehlers, Willow Martin, Tommy Greenwald, Laura Nagle, Tierney Baldwin, Nick Karris, and Kristen Soucheck with Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell and Dr. Stephen G. Chappell, founders of The Stars Challenge. Markham Place School won first prize at the Stars Science Competition. Members of the team (l-r): Henry Ehlers, Willow Martin, Tommy Greenwald, Laura Nagle, Tierney Baldwin, Nick Karris, and Kristen Soucheck with Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell and Dr. Stephen G. Chappell, founders of The Stars Challenge. WEST LONG BRANCH — Three local schools took top honors in the third annual Stars Science Competition for middle-school students.

Markham Place School in Little Silver won the first prize of $1,000 at the competition, held Jan. 12 at Monmouth University.

Holy Cross School of Rumson won the second prize of $800, and Mother Teresa School in Atlantic Highlands won the third prize of $600.

The Markham Place School team, led by Elizabeth Flynn, decided to find a solution to the frequent collisions in the hallways as students changed classes. The team first tried signs but measurements indicated that this was not effective. Then they tried arrows on the floor, which they also found to be ineffective. They then experimented with various mirrors and assessed their impact.

The effort showed a real-life approach to solving problems using science. Students from Markham Place who participated include Tommy Greenwald, Laura Nagle, Willow Martin, Tierney Baldwin, Theo Cheevers, Kristen Soucheck, Henry Ehlers, Nick Karris and Louis Franco.

The Holy Cross School team, led by Michelle Tomaino, was concerned about wasted water in their school. They examined the three sets of bathrooms, some old, some new, and found that if all the bathrooms used facilities that were as efficient as the new ones, the school could save about $2,000 per year. They then computed the economic benefit of upgrading all the facilities and found a three-year payback.

Students participating from Holy Cross School include Brendan Durney, Holly Koerwer, Erin Mattone, Jillian McHugh, Olivia Farrington, Michelle O’Malley, Pierre Thormann and Sebastian Buckley.

The team from Mother Teresa School, led by Jennifer Bader, chose to attack the problem of noisy classrooms in their school. They experimented with three types of sound insulation around the windows and found that cotton batting was the most effective. Students participating from Mother Teresa included Shane Dolan, Jason Korloff, Jakob Trinidad, Michael Rosa, Kevin Finucan and Steven Allegretta.

An Honorable-Mention team from Howell Middle School South has actually implemented their solution to the problem of wasted fruit in the lunch room. The team, led by Danielle Gianelos, observed that much of the fruit that is required to be served in the school lunchroom is thrown away by the students. Their solution was to instead give the fruit to the local SPCA. The SPCA collects about 125 pounds of wasted fruit each Friday for their animals. Student participating included Matthew Petersen, Ryan Leary, George Moran, Lorenzo Bedore and Michael Palladino.

Members of the High Technology High School Experimental Research Group assisted with the competition and presented their own award recognizing the team with the most potential for further research. The Red Bank Charter School won this award for their plan to use a greenhouse to provide healthier food for their school cafeteria.

Twenty-six teams from ten local schools competed. The prize money will go to the teachers who led the winning teams and will be used to buy science equipment and supplies for the teachers’ classrooms.

Other schools participating included Forrestdale School, Rumson, Marlboro Middle School, W. R. Satz Middle School, Holmdel, Solomon Schechter Day School, Marlboro, and the Township of Ocean Intermediate School.

In a press release, Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell, co-founder of The Stars Challenge, said, “Students love competitions and the opportunity to compete intellectually, to come up with a creative solution to a problem that exists in their school or community. Students get to pick a problem and demonstrate their grasp of science and creativity as they develop a solution.”

The Stars Challenge is a science enrichment program for middle-school students.

For more information, visit www.starschallenge.org.

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