January 31, 2013 10:10:28 AM
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science students are headed to the National Science Bowl after taking first place in the state high school science bowl Friday. MSMS students will travel to Washington, D.C., April 25-29.
The MSMS team defeated 24 other teams in one of the regional competitions held as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's national contest, held annually for middle-schoolers and high-schoolers. It is the nation's largest science competition. the school was recognized at last year's national competition for attending it mote than any other school in the country. They have won the regional science bowl 16 times, including eight consecutive times over the past eight years.
Students in four and five-member teams spend months preparing to compete in a Jeopardy-style format, answering questions from all disciplines of science, including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, astronomy and math.
While the school is proud of the students, there is also an expectation they will win, said Germain McConnell, director of academic affairs for MSMS.
"We are very competitive,"McConnell said today. "It is not only a testament to how well we prepare our students but also a testament to the quality of students we're able to attract. I think that goes hand-in-hand -- quality students with quality teachers providing quality instruction leads to great results."
It's also confirmation that the school's dedication to math and science is being fulfilled and is a major recruiting tool, he said.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu congratulated MSMS, saying the National Science Bowl challenges students to remain competitive in a rapidly advancing world.
More than 9,000 high schoolers and more than 5,000 middle school students compete in the regional tournaments, which are sponsored by federal agencies, national laboratories, institutions of education and nonprofit organizations.
The MSMS team has been coached by physics teacher Dennis Reed for the past 13 years, including five years as head coach. Students on this year's winning team were seniors Benny Zhang, Egan Peltan, Matthew Steed, Shawn Gompa and Wilhelm Liano.
Carmen K. Sisson is news editor at The Dispatch.
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