With their spirits flying high, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Science Bowl champs from Woodrow Wilson High School are poised to prove their mettle at the next level.
In winning the Feb. 18 competition at Friendship Collegiate Public Charter School, the team led by three-time champion Reid Rumelt, triumphed over second place winner McKinley Tech (74-46). Wilson's Tigers also defeated National Cathedral, Cardozo and Washington Math/Science Technology Public Charter School, to take their rightful place in the national contest in May.
"We won for the fourth year in a row," said team coach Angela Benjamin. "The nationals will take place at the 4H Center in beautiful downtown Chevy Chase, Md., May 1-2," she said, noting that the Tigers "finished 10th in the nation in 2010."
The regional science bowl is a quiz competition similar to the popular TV show, "It's Academic." During the bowl, two teams compete to buzz in answers to questions about physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, energy and astronomy.
In addition to Rumelt, the team consists of Ari Taske, Sutria Suyati, Jenna Wade and Lisa Zhao. Benjamin said they practice each week with team members assigned an area for concentrated study.
A newly-released U.S. Department of Education report revealed the absence of calculus programs among the nation's high-minority high schools. However, Benjamin partially credited her team's win on its knowledge of calculus.
"Strength of the team depends on the excellent advanced placement Science and calculus courses offered at Wilson," said Benjamin. She added that the Tigers' success also hinged on the "commitment of students, study assignments, and good team captains like Rumelt."
While none of Wilson's African-American students participated in this year's competition, Benjamin expressed optimism for the future.
"We have some young black [students] in the wings," she said. "This is also the first time we have had more than one female student."