By Wendy Osher
Maui High School’s science bowl team captured their fifth state title since 2002, in the Hawaii Regional Science Bowl competition held over the weekend.
The win secures a spot for the “Sabers” at the National Science Bowl in Washington, DC, in April.
The Sabers went undefeated throughout the recent Science Bowl at Honolulu Community College on Jan. 25.
The win included $500 in prize money for the Maui High School Science Department, and an expenses-paid trip for each member of the team to the national competition that takes place from April 25-29.
At the Science Bowl, competitors are asked questions from areas such as chemistry, physics, biology, math, and earth and space science.
“Going into the competition, I knew that our team had prepared extensively,” said Maui High senior and team member Steven Okada. “As a result, we entered with confidence, knowing that we were among the best teams there. I felt that although anything could happen, we had a pretty good chance of winning.”
In addition to Okada, the Maui High team is comprised of Riley Camp, Christopher Kim, Bryson Galapon and Gabriel Salazar.
The MHS team is led by retired Maui High science teacher Ed Ginoza, who said the competition prepares students for college and real life.
“I enjoy working with the kids, and the kids appreciate what you do for them,” said Ginoza. “I’ve had one former student say if it wasn’t for what we did for him, he wouldn’t be working for Microsoft today. Another got a full ride to MIT. For kids, the payoff is really, really big.”
Since its inception in 1994, more than 1,900 students representing more than 50 schools have participated in the Hawaii Science Bowl.
Maui’s Okada, who is a merit scholar, Presidential Scholar finalist, and holds the state’s top Advanced Placement scores in math and science, has been offered a full-tuition scholarship from the University of Southern California.
Two days before the Hawaii Science Bowl, Okada took the top spot at the 54th Annual Maui Schools’ Science and Engineering Fair, winning a trip to the Intel International Science Fair in Phoenix from May 12 to 17.
Okada’s project “Spectral Analysis of Quasar Time Dilation” focused on time dilation and Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as they relate to quasars.