Venice Wins Third Place In Science Bowl

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Amy Carranza, A & E Editor

Venice High won third place in the LADWP Science Bowl Regional Competition March 5.  The competition was hosted virtually with forty-five schools in attendance.

This year’s team included juniors Thaddeus Stefanski-Hall, Nasha Lin, Jessica Pan, Lidia Prokopovych-Shchepetkin, and Michael Warsono; sophomores Jonathan Cao, Ethan Kim, Nolan Kuo, and Vishwas Lagishetty; and freshman Fateh Aliyev.

Science Department Chair and teacher Daren Kitjima, the team’s coach, praised the students for their commitment and the effort they’ve given to the competitions. 

The group moved from fourth place in 2021 to third place this year.

“L.A. Unified is a very competitive district and there are some really, really tough schools, so getting third place was an incredible achievement,” Kitajima said.

The Science Bowl is a nationwide buzzer competition in which one has to press the buzzer the fastest in order to answer. Whoever gets the answer to the question correctly gains points for their team. 

It tests students’ knowledge of science and mathematics, specifically biology, physics, chemistry, earth and space science, and energy.

“As a way to prepare for the competitions, we pulled out some buzzers, a line up of questions designed for each of the topics, and studied,” Kitajima said. 

Furthermore, students were able to take the advantage of studying outside of the meetings in the classroom. 

Prokopovych-Shchepetkin joined Science Bowl when she was freshman in 2019 and has since been named team captain. 

Although she feared that there would be a lack of experience in her new team, she had no trouble leading independent studies to encourage them to build their study habits and confidently compete. She would even do study updates to get the team talking about what they’ve learned.

“A big challenge as team captain has been trying to replicate that same love for Science Bowl in the younger members,” Prokopovych-Shchepetkin said. “Education is too often seen as stressful or like an obstacle, when I think it should be seen as a personal journey of growth.”

Prior to the competition, the Venice High Science Bowl team had also been a part of invitationals and other unofficial events in order to prepare for the regional competition.

Junior Nasha Lin participated in both the DASONI competition on January 15 and the mandatory Virtual Scrimmage on January 29. 

“With DASONI, we used the conventional buzzer system and teams were put directly in competition with another team in the same meeting,” Lin said.

“This was thus more challenging than the Virtual Scrimmage, in which teams were asked to raise hands instead of buzzing and compete individually rather than directly in the same room with another team.”

Venice High’s participation in the Science Bowl has been around since the late 1990’s, winning one national and two regional championships in a row in 1996 and 1997. 

Anyone can join the club and the team, but must show consistency in their dedication, according to Kitajima.