Contact: Lise Reilly

310-450-8338, ext. 234

For Immediate Release

March 12, 2002


Superintendent John Deasy has declared that, "all children can and will achieve at extraordinarily high levels." The results of several recent competitions have shown that Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District students perform to expectations.

Webster Elementary School entered the Los Angeles County Science Olympiad for the first time in February. When it was all over, after competing all day at California State University, Northridge, Webster finished in First Place! Teacher, Victoria Winokur, entered a team of fifteen, fourth and fifth grade students. They had been preparing for the past three months, meeting once a week at lunch and working on their own after school. Webster competed against thirty-nine schools from all over Los Angeles County, including middle schools with sixth grade students. Webster's team participated in three or four events each, usually in teams of two. There were twenty events altogether. Students earned points for the quality of their work in each event.

The projects judged represented a wide array for scientific challenges and included the following:

Students participating were, Morgan Adams Greg Lieberman, Sam Block, Jack Pfeiffer, Christie Brydon, Emily Rodriguez, Colin Cadarette, Sam Rubinroit, Athena Denos, Jenna Sherry, Kendall Follert, and Jesse Simmons-Dial. The alternates were Olivia Pepper, Searra Silverberg, and Isabel Smith.

In February, Lincoln Middle School participated in the annual Mathcounts Chapter Competition for Santa Monica, surrounding Valley areas and the South Bay. Mathcounts is a national competition sponsored by the National Society of Engineers. This is a very challenging day of advanced mathematics problem solving. Top teams move on to the State level and then on to Washington DC for the nationals.

Lincoln's Team members, Zenan Chang, Persila Mohammadnia, Alissa Escarce, Brendan Cohn-Sheehy, and Peony Pak placed an impressive sixth overall out of twenty-seven public and private schools and second in their division behind Harvard-Westlake. Volunteer engineers helping out at the TRW Building in Redondo, where the math fun occurred, informed the Lincoln team that their score was excellent.

Santa Monica High School competed for the first time in the National Science Bowl regional competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on March 2. Entering two teams, A and B, they participated in an intense round robin competition answering questions based on Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Astronomy, Math, Computer Science, and General Science. Team "A," consisting of Matt Gilbert-Hamerling, Kazim Narsinh, John Gutman, and Jeff Delshad finished the regional competition undefeated, winning first place after eight rounds.

The team will advance to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. on May 4 and 5, 2002. The "B" team made a remarkable showing, finishing fifth out of twenty-four teams. Members of the "B" team included Garrett McLean, Kai Powell, Emily Schneider, Nick Hertz, and Melike Yersiz. Teacher, Ingo Gaida attributes the high achievement to all of the students intense studying and outstanding contribution in the fifth period Academic Decathlon class.



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