St. Mike’s Students Achieve at State Science Competition

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Seventh-graders from St. Michael the Archangel Middle School recently achieved at the PA Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) State Competition at Penn State. From left, Benjamin Keenan of Lower Saucon Township; Toby Broun of Hellertown; Will Wenrich-Quinones of Center Valley; Tyler Janick of Quakertown; Layla MoDavis of Coopersburg; Gigi Rachiele of Bethlehem; Victoria Temple of Coopersburg; and Sarah Scheidel of Center Valley. Not pictured: Vincent D’Ottavio of Hellertown.

Seventh grade students from St. Michael the Archangel Middle School in Upper Saucon Township competed successfully at an important state science competition in May.

Nine students from St. Mike’s working with science teacher sponsor Lisa Kline presented individual projects at the 85th annual PA Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) State Competition held at Penn State University Park in State College.

The presentations, all of which were first place recipients in regional competition before progressing to state, ranged on topics as wide as the potential harm caused by light to improving the speed of Lego-tracked racers.

“We’re very proud of our students,” said St. Mikes’ advancement director Marianne Gano. “They worked very at the long process. Kudos to them!”

Students spent the weekend meeting and in competition with hundreds of other student scientists from around Pennsylvania.

The presentations from St. Mike’s included:

  • Tobias Broun (Hellertown), “Respiration and Temperature Change in Hyla cinerea”
  • Vincent D’Ottavio (Hellertown), “Optimizing Speed and Power of a Lego Tracked Racer”
  • Tyler Janick (Quakertown), “Save the Berries! (Aloe Juice and Mold Prevention)”
  • Benjamin Keenan (Lower Saucon Township), “What Type of Light is most Harmful”
  • Layla MoDavis (Coopersburg), “Paper Towel Absorbancy”
  • Gianna “Gigi” Rachiele (Bethlehem), “Finding Amounts of Lead in Local Soil”
  • Sarah Scheidel (Center Valley), “Which Laundry Detergent Removes Stains the Best?”
  • Victoria “Tori” Temple (Coopersburg), “What substance melts ice the fastest?”
  • William “Will” Wenrich-Quinones (Center Valley), “Which Materials Can Block a Wi-Fi Signal?”

Tobias, Vincent, Tyler, Benjamin and William all achieved first places in their categories.

Gigi, Sarah and Tori Temple all won seconds; and Layla placed third.

The PJAS is a statewide organization of middle and high school students aimed at stimulating and promoting interest in science through the development of research projects and investigations.

As the PJAS website puts it, “Approximately 3,000 of the best and brightest science students from Pennsylvania’s 12 separate PJAS regions descend upon State College each May to present their research.”

The Saucon Valley is part of PJAS Region III.

St. Michael the Archangel School is a regional Catholic school located within the Diocese of Allentown. The middle school campus, which includes grades fifth through eighth, is located on the property of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 4121 Old Bethlehem Pike in Bethlehem.

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