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Bulletin Board: Westminster finishes strong at We the People 

Westminster’s We the People team with U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner

Westminster’s We the People team with U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner

Westminster finishes strong at We the People 

Westminster Christian Academy students once again represented Missouri at the national We the People competition in Washington, D.C., and finished among the top 10 teams – winning the national Unit 2 award.

We the People is a program Westminster has offered to students for 19 years under the leadership of Ken Boesch. The program allows students an opportunity to study and debate aspects of American government and the U.S. Constitution. Student teams from Westminster have competed at state and national levels, winning state awards and participating in the national competition for 15 consecutive years.


Outstanding citizen recognized

Jake Eovaldi, of Parkway South High, has received the 2015 Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award. He was one of eight students in the state to be honored in Jefferson City this spring.

Representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the State Board of Education and The Missouri Bar presented the awards.

Each public high school in Missouri is eligible to nominate one senior for the award. Students are selected for the award on the basis of their academic achievement in civics and government courses, performance in civics and government-related extracurricular activities, and exemplary community service. Students also must submit an essay about the importance of citizenship.


Merit scholarships awarded

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced approximately 2,200 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Officials of each sponsor college selected students from among the program’s Finalists to receive between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Local recipients include Michelle Harrison of Parkway South High, Mason Smith of Marquette High, Jason Cohn of Chesterfield (homeschooled), Catherine Lambert of Marquette High, Matthew Wennemann of St. Louis Priory, Ezekiel Sabbert of Rockwood Summit High, Elizabeth Jackson of John Burroughs, William Macke of St. Louis Priory, George Paletta of St. Louis Priory, Allyson Lotz of Eureka High, Akhil Pulumati of Lafayette High and Ian Steiner of St. Louis Priory.

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The National Merit Scholarship Corporation also has announced this year’s $2,500 scholarship winners including Kayla Eckardt of Lafayette High, Stephen He of Parkway Central High, Abby Lammers of Parkway North High, Jacqueline Ihnat of Parkway Central High, Ann Iverson of Chesterfield (Lindbergh High), Amanda Lopatin of Parkway North High, Addison Ogonoski of John Burroughs, Eesha Sabherwal of Parkway North, Jeremy Smith of John Burroughs,  Katherine Trout of Lafayette High and Lillian Wu of Lafayette High.


Student has the right chemistry

She fought her way through seven grueling rounds of chemistry questions, and, in the end, Crestview Middle sixth-grader Ashna Chali was named champion of the Missouri You Be The Chemist Challenge.

The contest uses the drama of competition to encourage students in grades five through eight to explore important chemistry concepts, scientific discoveries and laboratory safety. The You Be The Chemist Challenge is sponsored by the Chemical Education Foundation with support from the Dow Chemical Company and Dow AgroSciences.

This is the first year the competition has been held in Missouri. According to the Dow Chemical Company, Rockwood was chosen to pilot the contest because of its dedication to having a STEM Coordinator in the district. Additionally, having six Rockwood middle schools participating gave the competition the size and diversity needed to provide healthy competition between  participants.

Chali will now represent Missouri at the national competition in Philadelphia.


Advancing STEM in Rockwood

The Rockwood School District is among six awardees to receive grants from the Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF). Ranging from $33,000-$77,000, the grants are to be used to transform learning during the 2015-2016 school year.

Since 2006, ITEF has provided in excess of $1.5 million in grants to area schools, allowing them to transform libraries into “makerspaces,” introduce robotics and animation to elementary art students, and put computers with advanced software in the hands of middle-school students.

New this year is a partnership with The Boeing Company to create an Innovator’s Guild to assist grantees in making the most of their funding. Rockwood will use its grant money to launch its Mobile Innovation Center, a converted RV, to bring purposefully designed challenges to district schools.


Math perfection 

Put away your calculator and sharpen your pencils. Now try to answer this question in less than two minutes: “Four consecutive odd numbers have a sum of 504. What is the median of the numbers?”

This is the type of question Parkway West Middle’s Lenny Chen has been answering correctly, time and again, in regional and national math competitions. Chen has added up perfect scores for all three years of middle school and never broken a sweat despite rules such as: “No calculators. No talking. Your only tools are a pencil, a sheet of paper, and your noggin.”

This spring, Chen cinched his latest perfect score in a regional competition of Mathcounts. For the second consecutive year, he will represent Missouri in the national competition of Mathcounts this summer in Boston.

“No one else at West Middle – or in Missouri, as far as I know – has ever achieved perfect scores three years in a row in the Missouri Math League Contest,” said Joe Lee, Chen’s coach and West Middle math teacher.


On a winning streak

For the second year in a row, The Pollinator Project of Parkway North High won first place in the Lexus Eco Challenge, taking home a $15,000 prize. Pollinator team members are Abby Lammers, Andrew (Andy) Zhang, Alex Wood, Alex Galindo, Bryheem Mims, Claire Maher, Douglas Fritz, Ellen Wang, Jillian Day and Justin Camie.

The Pollinator Project takes a multi-faceted approach to protecting Midwest pollinators, which have become threatened due to the use of pesticide.

To conserve existing pollinators, the team provides free seed packets to landowners who are interested in starting a pollinator garden. To protect future pollinators and investigate the effects of pesticides on pollinators, the students are developing a test strip for Imidacloprid, a pesticide, and petitioning the FDA to require that test strips are produced by the companies that sell pesticides.

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