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Budding scientists compete at Maui Science Olympiad

By Staff | Feb 17, 2011

Jamie Fujii (left) and MJ Marie Baptista of Lahaina Intermediate School intently analyze and answer questions in the Fossils event.

KAHULUI — Young scientists from middle and high schools on Maui recently converged at the University of Hawaii Maui College to compete in the first annual Maui Science Regional Tournament.

Dubbed America’s most exciting team science competition, the Science Olympiad revolutionized science education.

Acknowledging the gains from exploring the world of science and in support of science initiatives, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa made an official proclamation recognizing the 2011 Maui Regional Science Olympiad Tournament in its inaugural year.

In her welcoming remarks, Maui Regional Director Flaviana A. Ancheta said, “What I like about Science Olympiad is that it involves learning, participation, interaction, having fun and developing team spirit while fostering an interest in science and technology.”

“The kids are excited about science and having fun at the same time. which is so important. Everyone had really come together and had a chance to work in a team environment engaging in scientific inquiry,” said Isla Young, program manager of Women in Technology at the Maui Economic and Development Board.

County Councilman Mike Victorino had a chance to witness the Bottle Rocket and Towers events. He said, “I think this is a great opportunity for young people to demonstrate their ability and broaden their horizon.”

After participating in various events at the tournament, the students agreed that they had fun and were able to apply acquired knowledge and concepts from the classroom.

“Although it was challenging for me in the Experimental Design, I gained a lot from that experience, which will help my career in the future,” said Lois Abo of Lokelani Intermediate School.

After a half-day of taking on mind-boggling, rigorous and challenging questions and situations, the students displayed their critical thinking skills by solving science problems.

Six schools will advance to the Statewide Science Olympiad Tournament at Leeward Community College on Saturday, March 5.

In Division B (middle school), Maui Preparatory Academy finished first, followed by St. Anthony Junior Senior High School and Lahaina Intermediate School.

For Division C (high school), King Kekaulike High School came in first, followed by Lahainaluna High School and H.P. Baldwin High School.

Spirit Awards — given to the teams that displayed good attitude, cooperation and teamwork during the events — went to Kihei Charter School and H.P. Baldwin High School.

The other participating school was Lokelani Intermediate School.

The tournament was presented by the Hawaii State Science Olympiad in partnership with the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project and the University of Hawaii Maui College. It was funded in part by MEDB’S Ke Alahele Education Fund, The Air Force Research Laboratory and the County of Maui.