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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Exploring the World of Science

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 26, 2014                                                                 Walnut, CA 91789

Exploring the World of Science
Walnut Valley Schools Shine at 2014 Science Olympiad

WALNUT, CA--Five schools and over 100 students from the Walnut Valley Unified School District distinguished themselves during the 28th Los Angeles County Science Olympiad competition held February 22 at Occidental College.

The competition was fierce with over 135 elementary and secondary schools ready to show their scientific prowess.

This year was WVUSD’s best performance ever.  A total of 140 schools were represented in the competition, which is the largest region in the nation. Several thousand students, teachers, and parents attended the all-day event.

Both Walnut High School and Diamond Bar high school earned trophies in the coveted top team placements for Division C.

Of the 39 high school teams, Walnut High earned 2nd Place and Diamond Bar High earned 4th Place.

In Division B, Walnut Valley middle schools took three of the top six-team trophies.

Of the 39 middle school teams, South Pointe earned 3rd place, Suzanne earned 4th Place, and Chaparral earned 6th Place.

Because of their outstanding performances, all five WVUSD middle school and high school teams have been invited to the State Championships on April 5.

For the first time, two Walnut Valley elementary schools sent teams to the competition. Teams from Quail Summit and Westhoff competed and took home silver medals. Most of these young scientists competed in 4-6 thirty minutes events. There is no state contest for the Elementary Division A tournament.

The Quail Summit team comprised of 4th and 5th grade students Andrew Park, Brandon Kam, Nathan Chun Nathan Lee, Nathan Sinn, Karissa Wong, Rui Yang Zhu, and Jaden Zhang.  The young science kids were recognized during a school spirit day assembly on February 24.  The Westhoff Elementary team members are Alice Chou, Allison Lin, Annita Wu, Daven Tseng, Kevin Zeng, Lilly Food, Peter Chen, Renee Chang and Grant Li. The silver medal winners were coached by Mr. Gilbert.

 A special thanks to all the parents who came out and supported our Walnut Valley elementary, middle and high school students during the contest.

“We are so proud of our students and all those that competed from Walnut Valley.  It was exciting to hear so many familiar schools being announced,” said South Pointe Middle School science teachers and advisors Megan Kojder, Kellie Muragishi, and Crystal Dira.

South Pointe took home 1st Place Awards in four events: Austin Sun and William Shao - Disease Detectives; Patrick Cai and Alvin Lee - Dynamic Planet; Alexander Tsao and Richard Zhao - Shock Value; and Patrick Cai and Darin Chang  - Solar System.  The South Pointe students placed 2nd in Boomilever, Robo-Cross, and Water Quality and 3rd in Anatomy and Experimental Design.  The team medaled "Top 6" in 14 out of 23 events. 

“It was the most medals we've had in our 4 years of Science Olympiad. Overall, South Pointe placed 3rd. We are really excited to go to State Competition on April 6!” said Crystal Dira.

The Chaparral Middle School team placed 6th out of 39 schools, said science teacher and team advisor Bob Patterson. Students medaled in Boomilever (5th Place, Gordon Lin, Sean Lin), Experimental Design (1st Place, Gordon Lin, Sean Lin, Brandon Hung), Helicopters (4th Place, Vivek Kandhari, Hannah Zhang), Meteorology (6th Place, Steven Yoo, Brandon Hung), Shock Value (5th Place, Sean Lin, Brandon Hung), Simple Machines (1st Place, Gordon Lin, Sean Lin), Wheeled Vehicle (1st Place, Steven Yoo, Brandon Hung), and Write It Do It (3rd Place, Johanna Liang, Alicia Wang). 

The Chaparral team consists of Jeremy Gan, Helen Huang, Brandon Hung, Vivek Kandhari, Christopher Li, Johanna Liang, Gordon Lin, Sean Lin, Sherry Mo, Sabin Park, Aimee Shao, Alicia Wang, Simon Wang, Steven Yoo, Hannah Zhang, and Justin Zhang.

Suzanne Middle School’s team consisted of 15 students with 5 alternates. Lydia Chan, David Hou, Joanna Li, Ethan Lin, Martin Nguyen, Felianne Teng, Lena Trinh, Kyle Truong, Ryan Tsen and Christopher Wong, Lynette Chan, Kelly Huang, Kevin Jensen, Eugene Lo and Amy Lo, with alternates Patrick Florendo, Annie Li, Patrick Martinez, Evelyn Pan and Alice Zhang.

These students worked in teams of two to prepare for 23 events in the categories of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science Physics, Technology, Engineering, and Inquiry.  Most students competed in three or four team events.  Some teams were focused on topics of anatomy, heredity, entomology, rocks/minerals, forensics, water quality, experimental design, solar system, and meteorology.  Other teams pursued engineering and created helicopters, a wheeled vehicle, rotor egg drop machine, a cantilever, and musical instruments.

Suzanne took individual event team medals in ten events: Boomiliever:  3rd place  -Kevin Jensen and Christopher Wong; Helicoptors:  3rd  Place  - Kevin Jensen and Christopher Wong; Rocks and Minerals: 3rd Place - Lydia Chan and Lena Trinh; Water Quality:  3rd Place - David Hou and Martin Nguyen; Robocross: 4th Place - Ethan Lin and Ryan Tsen (Eugene Lo team member);  Rotor Egg Drop: 4th  Place - Kevin Jensen and Martin Nguyen;  Simple Machines:  4th Place - Lydia Chan and Ethan Lin;  Can’t Judge a Powder:  5th Place - Lydia Chan and Felianne Teng; Road Scholar:  5th  Place - Joanna Li and Martin Nguyen; and Write It/ Do It: 6th Place - Lena Trinh and Ryan Tsen.

“The Science Olympiad experience is a culmination of dedication, commitment, sacrifice and passion on the parts of the students, parents and coaches.  The Science Olympiad requires not only head work, but heart work,” said Susan Warren, Suzanne Middle School coach and science teacher. 

“Just as in the recent Winter Olympics, every minute spent in actual competition represents hours spent in preparation and hard work.  I am so proud of this group of talented young scientists, who were willing to take risks and pursue advanced studies.  I am thankful for every one who helped make this experience possible for them,” she said.

Walnut High School science teacher Tony Goossens coaches the Mustang team.

“We may have had the largest representation there, medaling and receiving the top 6 place finishes, of any district,” he said.

Walnut High School received two 1st Place medals, three 2nd Place medals, five 3rd Place medals, two 4th Place medals, one 5th Place medal, and one 6th Place medal. There were 23 events and the Mustang team placed in the top six in 14 of these events.

Goossens describes the events as extremely difficult and beyond what is taught in the classroom.

“Each student has spent countless hours studying for exams in such topics as anatomy & physiology, astronomy, chemistry, diseases, entomology, forensics, genetics, geology, material science, planetary science, problem solving, circuitry, water quality, as well as building gliders, magnetic levitation, boomilever (structure stress designs), scrambler cars, and compound machines,” he said. Special thanks to parents Anne and David Sonner who have spent countless hours to make the Walnut High School Team such a success.

Fifteen Diamond Bar High School students competed in the regional competition.

“They did a wonderful job preparing, building and studying for the various events. We placed 4th overall out of 40 schools. This placement qualifies us to compete in April at the state level,” said science teacher and advisor Teresa Hebert.

The following Brahmas competed: Grant Shao, Kevin Chang, Jeannie Huang,

Alan Li, Claire Huang, Alice Jin, Forest Hu, Sherry Fu, Samantha Yang, Athena Chen, Isabel Jiang, Benjamin Chen, Leslie Sim, Jeff Chow, Miriam Sun, with Alternates -Brenton Hwee and Jonathan Kuo.

Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous, academic, interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events in which students prepare for during the year. There are approximately 23 challenging and motivational events that are drawn from the various disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers and technology. There is a balance between events requiring knowledge of science facts, concepts processes, skills and science applications.


Walnut High team members Alan Chen (standing), Brian Sonner (top), and Ted Zhu celebrate after the competition. 

Brian Sonner explains to the judges the workings of his Mission Possible (Rube Goldberg machine), which won the event. 

The Walnut High 2014 Science Olympiad Team. 

The Chaparral Middle School Science Olympiad Team celebrates after the competition.  

Chaparral students Brandon Hung and Steven Yoo getting ready for the Wheeled Vehicle contest. 

South Pointe Middle School Science Olympiad Team celebrates after the contest on February 22.

Quail Summit students compete in the Tennis Ball Catapult. 

Quail Summit team members proudly show their silver medals after the competition.

Advisors from Walnut High, Chaparral, South Pointe and Suzanne proudly show their team’ Science Olympiad trophies after a long day of competition on February 22. 

The triumphant Suzanne Middle School Science Olympiad team celebrates after placing 4th at the regional competition 

Suzanne teammates Kelly Huang and Kevin Jenson get ready to race their wheeled vehicle during the Science Olympiad regional tournament on February 22. 

The Suzanne Middle School award-winning RoboCross team Ethan Lin, Ryan Tsen, Patrick Martinez and Eugene Lo.  Their robot design took 2nd place at the Mesa Robles Invitational event and 4th place at the Science Olympiad L.A. regional competition.