Triadelphia Students Place at Science Bowl

TRIADELPHIA — It may be mid-summer, but some students from Triadelphia Middle School are still hard at work studying science — and reaping the benefits.

The school’s science bowl team recently harnessed the energy of a hydrogen fuel cell model car to carry them to third place in that portion of the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl. The team already had won a regional competition.

As the only team from West Virginia, the four student members and one alternate placed 13th overall out of 30 teams.

Along with Janine Reddy, a science teacher at Triadelphia and the team’s coach, students Rocky Diegmiller, David Reddy, Lucas Runyan, Bobby Sellers and Dana Holmstrand traveled to Colorado for the challenge.

”It was pretty exciting,” Reddy said.

Teams from 30 middle schools across the country competed. In the 10-meter straight track competition for the model cars, the three fastest teams took home trophies and cash prizes, according to the national science bowl Web site.

The top three finishers in this race were St. Andrews Episcopal School of Amarillo, Texas; Salem Middle School of Apex, N.C., and Triadelphia Middle School.

Reddy said the team had a 5-foot trophy mailed to the school, and each member won a hydrogen fuel rocket in addition to $100 to spend at the Discovery Store.

The school received $250, and Reddy was awarded $100 to spend through the science catalog used in the classroom.

Russ Sellers, father of Bobby Sellers and a retired member of the U.S. Air Force, is a big advocate for the students, according to Reddy.

”He was right there when we needed him,” Reddy said. ”I don’t know that we could have built the car without him.”

Practice and building times were held during nine after-school sessions from 3:30-5 p.m. between baseball, soccer and track practice.

The team also practiced for the academic part of the competition.

”They broke everyone up into six regions. We won from our region, and that got us into the double elimination round because we beat the original seven teams in our group,” Reddy said. ”We were slotted to go up against the people who won the tournament last year, and they won again this year,” Reddy said.

At Triadelphia, teachers have a coordinated and thematic science program.

”We teach biology, chemistry, physics; we teach a little bit of everything within the curriculum,” Reddy said.

But the team members are especially motivated students, who did the work on their own, according to Reddy. She rounded up textbooks, and the students read through their glossaries.

They each took on their own responsibilities. For example, Diegmiller was in charge of math and Runyan was in charge of biology and life sciences.

The team went through practice questions online and worked together to answer them. This led to them uncovering something they had to look a little further into if they were not sure of the answers.

A lot of the teams Triadelphia competed against in Colorado had been there almost every year for the seven years of the comeptition’s existence.

”Last year we won second place at the SMART center (in Warwood), but we weren’t involved in the national competition,” Reddy said.