First place at the Virginia Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 7 went to the team from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia. Team members include (left to right) Kay Aull, Michael Zhang, Paul Yang, Samuel Lederer (behind), Team Coach Sharon Baker, and Lisa Marrone.

Taking second place at the Virginia Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 7 was the team from Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, Virginia. Team members include (left to right) Dean de la Peqa, Steven Bills, Rob McNish, Sarah Harrison, Team Coach Kyle Cochran (behind), and Daniel Lobo.

Finishing in third place at the Virginia Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 7 was the team from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, from Alexandria, Virginia. Team members include (left to right) Michael Dziuban, Sanna Ronkainen, Daniel Richmond (behind), Meghan McCullogh, and Madison Busker, with Team Coach Amanda Beckrich.

Lab Hosts 22 teams for Virginia Science Bowl, Feb. 7; Thomas Jefferson High School wins 3rd year running

The intensity was palpable. Fourteen rounds of multiple choice and short answer science and math questions conducted over seven hours culminated in an academic face off between the reigning champs, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Charlottesville High School at the Feb. 7 Virginia Regional Science Bowl hosted by Jefferson Lab, in Newport News, Va.

Twenty-two teams — 109 students, with their 26 teachers (coaches) — converged on Jefferson Lab to participate in the daylong academic competition that has been sponsored annually since 1991 by the U.S. Department of Energy. Many teams from outside the area started arriving the evening before to avoid wintry weather forecasted overnight for northern and western parts of the state.

Charlottesville entered the Finals with one loss while TJHSST was undefeated. Just over 20 minutes later, TJHSST fell to Charlottesville, 22 to 48, marking the team's first loss of the day, and effectively causing a tie between the two teams, which required a 2nd Finals Round.

After their shaky performance in the previous round, the TJHSST team from Alexandria seemed to get a second wind and trounced Charlottesville, 76 to 8 in the last round. The win marked the third consecutive time TJHSST has taken the regional competition at Jefferson Lab, and ensures the team a berth at the Science Bowl Nationals to be held in Washington, D.C., April 29 - May 3.

Placing third in the event and taking home a trophy and check for $500 was St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School from Alexandria. For their second place finish, Charlottesville High School from Charlottesville received a trophy and a $750 check. First place honors for TJHSST came with a banner, individual medals, the team trophy and $1,000 to be spent on the school's math and science programs.

Pulling in a strong fourth was the New Horizons Governor's School based in Hampton. In addition to the academic competition, the event included Stay-All-Day Activities for the teams that didn't make it to the afternoon's double-elimination rounds. The brain-teaser activities included building a structure out of spaghetti, assembling a model airplane and flying it, and encasing an egg and dropping it from a distance to see which team could prevent the dropped egg from breaking. The overall winner of the Stay-All-Day Activities was Walsingham Academy from Williamsburg.

"The event was a huge success," noted Jan Tyler, Jefferson Lab Science Education manager and Virginia Regional Science Bowl coordinator. "We had some of the brightest young minds in the Commonwealth here. The scientific knowledge and understanding they demonstrated were incredible and the energy and excitement was fantastic."

"An event like this is a great way to promote education, academic excellence and an interest in math and science," Tyler added. "These events give us the opportunity to encourage and motivate young minds. By hosting the regional science bowl, Jefferson Lab is able to show support for science education in Virginia and to encourage our youth to pursue a higher education and careers in science and math."

To learn more about the annual National Science Bowl competition, visit www.scied.science.doe.gov/nsb/history or check out the types of questions students must answer at www.scied.science.doe.gov/nsb/samplqs.htm.