Sellwood Middle Schools compete in this year's national 'Science Bowl' -- did well, but didn't win

DAVID F. ASHTON - With his student teams thumbs on the buzzers, Sellwood Middle School science teacher Craig Naze watches as the students practiced answering science questions, preparing for the Regional Science Bowl at the University of Portland. It's been more than simply book-learning, for the students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum at Sellwood Middle School.

Once again this year, a group of the school's students participated in the Northwest regionals of the U.S. Department of Energy's National "Science Bowl" competition, involving students from as far south as Ashland, and as far north as northern Washington State.

The Sellwood kids and their mentors got up early to be on the campus of the University of Portland at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, to participate in the "Bonneville Power Administration Regional Science Bowl".

This was a fast-paced academic quiz game which tested the students' knowledge in all aspects of science: Math, geology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and more, said local eighth-grader Theodore Hildebrand-Faust, who served as the spokesperson for the group. Sellwood Middle School was one of only two Portland Public schools to participate this year.

"All of us who do this have fun, and we all learn more about science," Hildebrand-Faust told THE BEE. "I'm glad our school does this, because I think it's really important that kids have a place to learn, and to compete in this kind of setting. Most competitions in school are sports oriented; very few involve cerebral pursuits, and this is cognitively oriented!"

He, and many of his teammates, will likely move on to Cleveland High School next year, Hildebrand-Faust said. "With advances in technology and science, I think it's important to be 'ahead of the game' in learning these topics as we go from middle school into high school."

Although the local students did not make the regional cut to move on to the national finals this year, "It really was still a lot of fun," smiled Hildebrand-Faust.

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