Strawberry Crest students compete in National Science Bowl
DOVER, Feb 26, 2013 (Tampa Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Some of the fiercest young competitors across the country are currently locked in a high-pressure contest that requires speed, skill and grace under pressure.
Of course, an encyclopedic knowledge of physics, chemistry and math doesn't hurt either.
On March 9, five students from Strawberry Crest High will travel to Miami to compete in the South Florida regional portion of the National Science Bowl. More than 9,500 high school students -- and an additional 4,500 middle school students -- have taken part in 120 nationwide regional contests since Jan. 19. In addition to Strawberry Crest, students from Durant High will also represent Hillsborough County in the event.
"Science has always been an interest for all of us, and we all have a similar passion for it," said Brian Do, one of five juniors representing Strawberry Crest at the regional event. Do is the team captain and will be joined by Jonathan Calzadilla, Robert Chrostowski, Tim Hartwick and Jordan Smith.
The group was assembled in the fall by physics teacher Jim Brockman, who also sponsors the school's Science Olympiad and robotics squads. The team gathers for hour-long practice sessions up to twice a week.
"We're not an official club or organization, so getting together can be a bit of a challenge," Do said.
The team had to come together quickly for a countywide science bowl event at MOSI in the fall. Whereas Brockman had to scramble to put a bowl team together last year, the members of this year's team beat out tough competition from all grade levels.
"We're the best of the best," Chrostowski said with a smile. They proved it by winning the county event and earning a spot at regionals.
"We're in awe that we won," Brockman said. "Every school in the county was represented; we're actually going to be competing against fewer schools in this next event."
Seventeen high schools are scheduled to take part in the South Florida regional.
Students will face tough mathematical problems, as well as questions on different branches of science, in a "Jeopardy"-style format where the first team that rings in with the correct answer earns a point.
The winners of each regional competition will advance to the finals of the National Science Bowl, which is organized by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and is in its 23rd year. That means a free field trip to Washington D.C. in late April and bragging rights for the rest of the school year.
Strawberry Crest's team believes it has most of its scientific bases covered -- they'd prefer not to have to answer an earth science question -- and feel good about their chances. Brockman also has a tremendous amount of faith in his group.
"Put it this way," Brockman said. "You can come back and ask me how I feel about our chances when we're getting ready for nationals in about a month."
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