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Meridian Middle School science students capture top excellence award for third straight year
For the Reporter
Two busloads of 64 enthusiastic science students, a Kent School District record, attended the 57th annual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF) on April 5 at Bremerton High School.
Meridian Middle School captured the Excellence in Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award for the third consecutive year.
The students came home with 23 first-place awards, 23 second-place awards, 17 third-place awards and six honorable mentions.
Most Meridian student projects featured at the fair were done in class, led by science teacher Michele Chamberlain, who was named the State Science Teacher of the Year in 2012.
"All our students worked very hard and took this fair very seriously. Their hard work really paid off," Chamberlain said.
WSSEF judges, volunteer professional scientists and engineers evaluate students and their work. Judging includes interviews, project display reviews and results. Student scores are based on knowledge of the topic, proper application of research or engineering principles, journal and record keeping, creativity and communication skills.
First-place trophies went to: Caleb Bilodeau, Austin Dickinson, Craig Irwin, Varun Suravejhela, Shelda Salomon, Alexis Thompson, Tony Vergara, Caley Berumen-Escobado, Katelyn Campbell, Chloey Chae, Simranjeet Sidhu, Anette Bejarano-Arias, Shana Sourish, Harmandeep Kaur, Baljot Kaur, Zoe DeCillia, Simrat Samra, Eric Nguyen, Tahmin Talukder, Patrick Le, Dmitriy Kot, Trenton Moore and Titan Kennett.
Second-pace honors went to: Andrew Irwin, Lukas Akiyama, Dorin Russu, Gideon Jennings, Karim Madani, Kahlia Mafua, Tuong Tu, Leslie Duenas Torres, Malcolm Hay, Nyani Taylor, Simi Kaur, Catryce Thompson, Nicole Cavanaugh, Austin Freeman, Danny Ngo, Jaskiran Kaur, Keenjal Sangani, Jake Fankhauser, Ryan Lawyer, Gabe Villar, Bruce Kang, Alex Minero and Joseph Sua.
Third-place honors went to: Sara Emahazien, D'Anna Klimke, Bradley Roberts, Erin Sturtevant, Lynda Pham, Maya Dumlao, Janine Sar, Olivia Van Rens, Hale Wondwosen, Natalie Buonyavong, Kim Callo, Carsen Vannoy, Monica Del Angel, Alyssa Bingham, Destiny Capers, Tejkiran Kaur and Teresa Nguyen.
Honorable mentions went to: Zymon Ramirez, Tommy Knowles, Evelyn Johnson, Madisyn Clark, Macy Byrne and Eden Berhanu.
Student who received specialty awards, recognizing their work in specific areas, were: Caleb Bilodeau (USAA Forest Service Award); Trenton Moore, Titan Kennett, Gabe Villar, Bruce Kang, Kahlia Mafua and Tuong Tu (Museum of Flight Award); Craig Irwin, Shelda Salomon, Austin Dickinson and Varun Saravejhela (Pacific Science Center Award).
Eighth-grader Caleb Bilodeau was nominated for the Broadcom Masters Award for his work on hydrogen bonds in water. He investigated how microwaves break apart the intermolecular hydrogen bonds in water and how that affects water's properties, such as pH and cohesion. His work was judged to be at the top 10 percent in the state.
Bilodeau was nominated to submit his project to the Broadcom Masters, a national science, technology, engineering and math competition for U.S. sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
Bilodeau will be considered for semifinalist status in September, as one of 300 from around the country. Thirty finalists will be selected from that group at the end of September.
"Caleb is a terrific young scientist," Chamberlain said. "This recognition demonstrates a level of excellence in his work that puts him at the very top of all state competitors."
Principal Jim Schiechl was again impressed with the list of winners from his school.
"The group is truly representative of the students at Meridian. Winners include English-language learners, special education students and others from a wide demographic," he said. "The winners at this fair are not simply an elite few. The experience is a real life and relevant one for every student."
The WSSEF is held each year, organized by volunteers and open to Washington students in grades 1-12.
PHOTO BELOW: Meridian Middle School science teacher Michele Chamberlain, with Caleb Bilodeau. Courtesy photo