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Junior high science bowl team scores at states

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“The name’s Bond, Ionic Bond” read the club shirts of junior high science bowl team members, surely not the only science pun seen or heard at the statewide JH science bowl competition held March 4 in Cocoa Beach. The 10 students that comprise AHS’s two teams (Team Black and Team Gold) competed against 18 other teams for a chance to move on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. later this year, and came up just a bit short: second place.

Team Black’s five members (four competitors and one alternate) were eighth graders Anisa Haffizulla (team captain), Rishi Patel, Alexander Kolondra, Daniel Watson and Iris Lang, while Team Gold had eighth graders Gauri Kasarla (team captain), Alexander Solomon and Melina Marin and seventh graders Stephen Levine and Nicolas Fernandez-Baigun. Team Gold did not place, but Team Black defeated three other schools and, ironically, Team Gold, losing out in the final round to Lincoln Middle School.

Heritage’s two teams met every Wednesday for an hour and a half after school and every Thursday during lunch. During practices, the two teams compete against each other, with team advisor and seventh grade science teacher Mrs. Jennifer Page serving as a moderator. Teams must rigorously study facts and figures in the fields of Earth, Space, Life, Physical, General, Energy and Math Sciences.

“Naturally, each of us excels at a certain subject more than another, so each team member focused their efforts on one particular subject. For example, [Haffizulla] took on the Life Science category because her parents work in the medical field so she is more knowledgeable there, [and Lang] took on Math because she also competes with the math team,” Kolondra said. A returning competitor, Kolondra worked with fellow team member Patel in September 2016 to build this year’s team from the ground up. The two personally created and administered a test for those interested in trying out for the team, as they had six open spots.

“[Although] only first place advances to the national competition, we exceeded our expectations by achieving second place,” Kolondra said. The team has progressed so much since its first year, and next year it plans to make it even farther.

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