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Students qualify for state science competitions

Impressive results in regional competition have propelled 49 LCPS students on to the state Science Fair and the state Science Olympiad.

Fifth grade boy poses in front of his science fair project.Thirty-two students representing individual and team projects from nine schools won bids to the state event after top finishes in the Regional Science Fair held Feb. 24 at East Carolina University. Winners came from across all grade spans – three elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools.

At the East Carolina Regional Science Olympiad Tournament held Feb. 17 at ECU for middle schools and high schools, the varsity team from Woodington Middle School finished third overall in the Division B Varsity competition, racking up first-place finishes in two events and top 10 finishes in five others. Teams from Lenoir County Early College High School earned two first-place finishes in the Division C Varsity competition.

All three teams will move on to the North Carolina Science Olympiad Tournament, scheduled for April 12-13 at N.C. State University.

The North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair is scheduled for March 23, also at N.C. State.

“We could not be prouder of all of our elementary, middle and high school students who competed at these regional competitions,” said Christel Carlyle, LCPS’s director of middle grades education and coordinator of districtwide science activities. “These students and coaches work hard to prepare and these results are an indication of how dedicated and talented the students from Lenoir County Public Schools are.”

Advancing to the state Science Olympiad from Lenoir County Early College High School are Adi Patel and Hector Mendez, who finished first in two events at the regionals – Flight, in which the flight of a rubber-band powered aircraft is analyzed and timed, and Tower, an engineering challenge in which teams build towers from balsa wood.

First-place finishes by the team of Leila Culhane and Alia Brown, in the Micro Mission competition, and by the team of Cameron Whitfield and Riley Jones, in the Disease Detectives competition, led Woodington’s varsity to its best-ever result in the regional Science Olympiad. The school’s varsity team advanced to the 2023 state tournament with a fifth-place finish in the regionals.

Science Olympiad consists of 18 events related to science, technology, engineering and math, testing students’ knowledge and skills in areas like astronomy, physiology, meteorology and aeronautics. Each school chooses 15 team members to compete.

“Our team is excited to get to participate at the state level.  It will be a great experience for our students,” said Woodington head coach Monica Johnson, who took both a varsity and junior varsity team to regional competition. “Many Woodington teachers and students have been preparing for Science Olympiad competition since the end of October. Both of our teams proved hard work and dedication pay off.”

Junior varsity teams don’t have the opportunity to compete at the state level, but Woodington’s junior varsity showed promise for the future, finishing fourth overall at ECU.

Members of the Woodington varsity and junior varsity teams are Alejandro Jiminez, Ben Phillippe, Josh Stroud, Eliza Hawkins, Leila Culhane, Cameron Whitfield, Riley Jones, Mya Roberson, Nikki Bellamy, Reese Bumgarner, Colbie Brown, Kylee Weston, Esley Hudson, Alia Brown, Jeremiah Hall-Dudley, Nyck Bilodeau, Malachi Hobbs, Ethan Croom, Reagan Bumgarner, Raylan Hardee, Ryder Walston, Jaylee Levey, Trenton Noble, Chris Shaikh, Olivia Conner, Jayden McKinney, Evelyn Garcia, Braylen Taylor and Layla Knight.

Coaches in addition to Johnson are James Blake, Ben Daniels, Wendy Williams, Loraine Kelly, Mari Hatcher-Turner, Madelyn Coates, Traci Howard, Anna Rouse, Majesty McPhail and Scott Cole.

At the regional Science Fair, where students display and explain results of their research projects to judges, LCPS students earned eight first-place awards, collected five special awards from the North Carolina American Water Works and Water Environment Association and received invitations to the state Science Fair for 18 different projects. The projects investigated areas of earth science, math and physics, engineering, biology, chemistry and data science.

Advancing with their projects to state competition are: from Banks Elementary, Abigail Williams; from Moss Hill Elementary, Carsyn Tyndall, Tucker Harris and Kinley Barnett; from Pink Hill Elementary, Bryson Canady; from Contentnea-Savannah K-8, the team of Brooks Harrell, Danny Webb and Timothy Wiggins and the team of Cheyenne Chavez, Khristiana Hines and Kymberly Moye; from EB Frink Middle, Norah Wine and Annaliese Miller; from Rochelle Middle, Tiara King, Jalen Torrencee and Yenifer Canales Hernandez; from Woodington Middle, the team of Joshua Stroud and Logan Whitley and the team of Katelyn Mercer and Esmee Delien; from Kinston High, the team of Terry Sutton, Alaina Morgan and Saniyah Hart, the team of Zania Newton, Savannah Wade and Keyandre Sutton and the team of Jasmine Reynolds, Saiyanah Becton and Tayona Ormsby; and from North Lenoir High, Marissa Doyle and Sondos Nagi.

Photo caption:

Bryson Canady, a fifth grader at Pink Hill Elementary School, and nearly 50 other LCPS students have qualified for state-level competition at either the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair or the North Carolina Science Olympiad Tournament after strong showings in regional competition. Bryson’s project took first place overall in the elementary division at the Regional Science Fair, held Feb. 24 at East Carolina University.