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HomeNewsArchivesComplex Rolls to Science Bowl Victory – Again

Complex Rolls to Science Bowl Victory – Again

Jubilant members of St. Croix Educational Complex Team 1 hoist their 1st place trophy.A team from St. Croix Educational Complex Sunday proved the adage, "It’s not just what you know, it’s how fast you know it," blitzing a nine-team field Sunday to win the territory’s Regional Science Bowl Competition.

It was the sixth year in a row that Complex students have taken home the award, and the seventh time in the past eight years. And the whole event might not have happened if it weren’t for two of the school’s students.

Cheryl Willochs, director of curriculum for the Department of Education, told the assembled students, teachers, volunteers and supporters, that the event ran into some snags, and there had been some fear that it would be cancelled.

While this is the 14th year for the Science Bowl in the territory, it was the first year on St. Croix, making it essentially a first-time event. That, coupled with the territory’s economic problems and layoffs of teachers, cast a shadow.

"Some time back these two students came to my office to talk about the possibility that the Science Bowl wouldn’t take place," she said. "They said they had been working hard on this since the 9th grade."

Willochs said their passion convinced her that "We’ve got to do this for our students."

The two students who had the passion to go in and plead their cause were Complex seniors Steven Browne and Gerhard Steven Jr. And those two saw both the hard work and the passion pay off when they were on the team that steamrolled its way to the title.

All the kids from the nine teams representing five different schools were smart enough, answering with aplomb puzzling questions in a range of scientific subjects, including biology, Earth and space, energy and geology. But the Complex Team 1 was always a little quicker on the draw, confident enough to buzz in with the answer a little faster, and in the end they took home the top prize.

In a quarterfinal round, Complex 1 took on Country Day School’s Team 2, which had been doing well all day. Complex showed no mercy, walking away with a win by the impossible score of 112-4. After the match, Country Day captain Alex Hensley, looking a little dazed, said, "They were just more confident, they rang in as soon as they thought they knew. We knew the answers but we weren’t as confident."

The two teams were matched again in the finale and, despite the previous experience, Country Day 2 fared no better the second time out. Complex 1 rang in first on every question, and Country Day 1 only had the chance to even attempt answering one question in the 16-minute contest. Complex Team 1 ended up the winners by a score of 76-0.

While every contestant wanted to win, many said there were plenty of other benefits to having gone through the almost year-long process of preparing for Science Bowl.

Hensley, captain of the vanquished Country Day team, "It’s a fun, friendly competition."

Uchenna Ofoha, a senior at Charlotte Amalie High School, said she learned a lot from her first year in Science Bowl, and she didn’t mean some kind of boilerplate life lessons.

"I learned a lot of facts," she said. "That’s fun."

Rosa White, science coordinator of the St. Croix District, said the goal of Science Bowl is to encourage students to go into science and math as a field of study. And it works, she said.

"Over 90 percent of these kids are going on to college and going into science and math, 95 percent easy," she said.

Gerhard Steven, one of the Complex seniors whose commitment to Science Bowl helped ensure that it continued, said the process is about more than studying. It’s about uniting for a common goal.

"It’s learning to come together as a group, coming together and competing as one," he said. "It can be a little nerve-wracking in the beginning, but it’s all in the spirit of fun."

The top four finishers of the competition were:

  • 1st: Complex Team 1, Gerhard Stevens, Steven Browne, Marysol Almestica, Biko McMillan and Elishuwon Mitchell;
  • 2nd: Country Day Team 2, Alex Hensley, Saami Zakaria, Osaze Newton, Quinn Galbreath and Chandler Blaschka;
  • 3rd: Country Day Team 2, William Byrd, Liam Marin, Chris Car, Nathan Peacock and Omani Tuitt,
  • 4th: Complex Team 2, Julissa Marcel, Roy Zechariah Arcamo II, Narendra Balkaran, Osei Walla and Tafari Nelson.

Also competing were two teams from Charlotte Amalie High School, two teams from St. Croix Central High School, and a team from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.

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