Walton whiz kids head to science bowl

Five Walton High School students were a part of the school's Science Bowl team that won first place at the Georgia Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 25. From left, Edward Park, sophomore; Michael Blotner, senior; Rick Blackstone, science teacher and sponsor; Lisa Wang, senior; Charles Wang, senior and George Fei, junior.

Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan

MARIETTA – For the third year in a row, Walton High School’s Science Bowl Team will head to Washington, D.C., to compete on the national level against 64 other teams from across the country.

The students won the state competition at Armstrong Atlantic State University in east Georgia two weeks ago. Walton High’s team is made up of five students, Charles Wang, Lisa Wang, Edward Park, George Fei and Michael Blotner, who are coached by Walton science teacher Rick Blackstone.

The science bowl is like a game show, where teams answer various science questions to score points.

“This year (state) was a little harder. We lost one game, but with a double elimination we stayed in,” Blackstone said. “We beat the same team twice and got down 30 points to another school but managed to get the last four questions and bonuses to pull off the win.”

Walton beat Fulton County’s North Springs High School, in Sandy Springs, for the first-place trophy.

The students, who are sponsored locally by Siemens, will travel to Washington from April 26-30 and will compete against 64 other teams.

Team Captain Charles Wang is a senior at Walton who’s been on the Science Bowl team since his sophomore year.

“I took AP Chemistry and AP Biology … (classmates) just kind of dragged me into it and once I started, I couldn’t really stop,” he said.

This will be the third year Wang has gone to the national competition.

“We have a good chance of winning,” he said.

In 2011 and 2009, the Walton team finished third in the eight-team bracket but didn’t advance to the final round. In 2010, they advanced to the championship round and finished fifth in the nation.

The two things Wang is looking forward to most this year is meeting other science-focused students and taking a new tour of the nation’s capitol. In years past, students have only been able to visit the Smithsonian.

“I think a lot of (the competition) is meeting so many people and those who are interested in the same things you are,” he said. “You can talk to them about a topic you aren’t able to normally discuss with other people.”

His favorite subjects are chemistry, biology and physics.

Blackstone said the team will prepare for the national contest the same as they did for the state competition and he anticipates hearing same types of questions but maybe a little harder and more intense.

The U.S. Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. More than 20,000 students have participated in the competition since then and it is the nation’s largest science contest.

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