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Maui Prep students win State Science Olympiad

By Staff | Mar 18, 2010

Maui Preparatory Academy Middle School Science Olympiad team members include (from left): back row — Sidney Gilbert, Julia Addie Goldblatt, Santana Huck, Stephan Foster, James Foster, Joshua Ancheta and teacher Carrie DeMott; front row — Emma Archambeau, Samantha Shoemaker, Leiana Beyer and Caleb Bermudez.

NAPILI — Maui Preparatory Academy Middle School students continued their winning streak by placing first in their division at the State Science Olympiad on Oahu on March 6. 

The ten-member team and their coach, science teacher Carrie DeMott, will travel to the University of Illinois in May to represent Hawaii at the national competition.

The Science Olympiad requires students to problem solve, collaborate and use their inquiry skills onsite with no adult assistance. 

DeMott said the MPA students took first in the experiential design category. In the event, students tested a chemical reaction, collected data and discussed the results.

In the trajectory event, students constructed an object to travel a specific distance.

She said the “kids were floored” to win the state contest. Although they worked very hard — practicing after school and with teammates on weekends for two-and-a-half months — the students focused on having fun at the Maui and state competitions.

Some 120 teams will compete at the national event, selected from the 6,000 teams that initially participated in regional and state competitions around the country. 

Coach DeMott worked with her Maui Prep students almost every day after school to prepare them for the regional and state competitions. 

“For such a young team (mostly seventh-graders) and from such a small school, I wasn’t sure it was possible for us to win first in state,” said DeMott. 

“But with their hard work, dedication and teamwork, the kids came out on top. It proves that no matter how small you are, if you work hard, you can succeed. Maui Prep is a school that gives all kids a chance to shine.”

DeMott said Maui Prep’s elementary school students are following the team’s achievements, and it’s spurring interest in science.

“It’s a chance to shine in a new way,” she added.

In just its fifth year of operation, Maui Prep is a pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 school located in Napili.

Headmaster George Baker said, “We are all very excited and proud of our students. This will be a wonderful opportunity for them to interact with the best and the brightest science students in the country. We are honored to represent our island and our state.”

The National Science Olympiad will feature 23 contests. DeMott said the event is as prestigious as the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and high school level gold medalists receive full college scholarships to study science.

Baker thanked Mokulele Airlines and the Sheraton Waikiki for supporting the Maui Prep Science Olympiad Team.

Every student on the team will go to the national contest. Fund-raisers will begin soon.