Saturday, May 1, 2004

Students compete in Science Bowl

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

INDIAN HILL - It's like the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, with one exception. There's only one category to choose from - science.

But for students who like science, the National Science Bowl Competition in Washington, D.C., Sunday and Monday couldn't be more fun.

"It took a little teamwork to run the table, but we beat the undefeated team in the winners' bracket two times," said William "Billy" Bernstein, 18, a Cincinnati Country Day School senior from Symmes Township.

Billy is describing the double elimination round in February that qualified his five-member team for nationals. It was the second year in a row that Cincinnati Country Day qualified.

The school, the only one in Ohio to qualify, beat out 23 Tristate schools for a chance to compete at the national event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Billy and the rest of the Science Bowl team (Nima Ghamsari, 18, Blue Ash; Bradley Walker, 18, Kenwood; Jason Juang, 18, Blue Ash; and Zach Newman, 18, Blue Ash) left Thursday for Washington.

Their second-year head coach and former science bowl competitor Kevin Koller, 23, accompanied them.

Koller and fellow science teacher Deena Carey, 34, began coaching the boys twice a week in September (before and after school), adding a Saturday practice in October.

Carey said Koller's experience as a Centerville High School Science Bowl contender several years ago helped. He has the strategy down for "when to buzz," Carey said.

Koller explained: "You can't be too fast on the buzzer, and you can't be too slow on the buzzer. If you ring in before the question is fully read, and answer the question incorrectly, the other team gets four points automatically."

The Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage high school students to excel in math and science and to pursue careers in these fields.

More than 13,000 students from 1,800 schools competed at 64 regional events to qualify.

For information on the Science Bowl, visit Web site


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