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Wilcox Elementary tops Science Olympiad

PUHI — Four schools took on the challenge of the Hawaii State Science Olympiad hosted by Kauai Community College Saturday.

“We never had anything like this when I was this age,” said Chelsea Chock, a teacher with St. Catherine School. “We actually had so many students wanting to be a part of this, we had to put a cut-off point. It is so good to see the kids get excited about science.”

Ryan Girard said there were 47 students representing four schools competing in nine events, three of which were open to the public.

Each team received a medal in at least one event.

Teams from Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, participating in the Elementary Science Olympiad for the first time, filled in the top two spots, followed by the enthusiastic Island School team coached by Cristy Peeren.

St. Catherine School filled in the No. 4 and 5 slots with St. Theresa Catholic School’s sole team coached by Tomas Chavez rounding out the leaderboard.

“We had to build a tower using dried pasta,” said Sage Javinar of the Wilcox team. “The idea is to have the tower as light as possible, but it has to hold a good amount of weight. It was fun to work with my friends and learn new things like this tower. It was like being an architect.”

Javinar, teaming with Blaze Arzadon on the Pasta Tower, one of the three events open to the public, finished as the 10 kilogram weight emptied into the bucket suspended from the pasta tower. The suspended bucket stook for a few seconds before a pop signalled the structure’s buckling.

“The secret is the long tube,”said Luke Gandeza, who with Austin Burns, formed one of two teams in 3-2-1 Blast Off!, another of the events open to the public. “The long tube helps balance the rocket, and the fins keep it afloat.”

Ann Keeler, one of the teachers for the Wilcox teams, said the students spent a lot of time working and researching the rockets before settling on a final design.

“They must have built 100,000 rockets,” Keeler said. “We have a launch set up at school, and the students built many, many rockets with so many different designs.”

The effort paid off as the Gandeza and Burns team’s rocket drew applause and cheers as it stayed afloat in the brisk trade winds. The second rocket from Wilcox School’s second team of Via Javinar and Talen Macugay drew gasps as it plopped down atop one of the KCC buildings.

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