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South Middle Team Returns Triumphant from National Science Bowl

South Middle team members working together at a computer during the National Science Bowl

A five-member team from South Middle School participated in the Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl in Washington D.C. from April 27–28. Team members Eric Pei, Tristan Wan, Erin Wong, Samantha Zeltser, and Richard Zhuang won the Cyber Challenge competition and placed in the top eight overall in the National Science Bowl, earning South Middle’s best finish at the this national event to date.

The event included two days of competition. On April 28, the South Middle team won the National Middle School Cyber Challenge, a “Jeopardy-like” question-and-answer-style Capture the Flag system. The team was awarded a trophy for their first-place finish and $500 for their school’s science research program. 

The Cyber Challenge was developed through the Consortium-Enabling Cybersecurity Opportunities and Research (CECOR) organization and the Cyber Defenders program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

On April 27, teams participated in the academic portion of the National Science Bowl competition, which features a fast-paced, question-and-answer format that covers a wide range of science disciplines, including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy, and math. The South Middle team placed in the “elite eight” of this bracket-style competition, out of 48 teams from across the country.

The South Middle Science Bowl team is coached by Dr. Doris Stanick, an Earth science teacher at South Middle, and Ms. Diane Caplain, a biology teacher at South Middle. The team earned a spot in the National Science Bowl after winning the Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven National Laboratory on March 2.

The Department of Energy National Science Bowl (NSB), established in 1991, is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. This year, 48 middle school teams and more than 250 students competed in the national event, which features the top teams from regional tournaments held across the country.


South Middle Science Bowl team members and team coach are photographed with a trophy and oversized check South Middle School’s Science Bowl team members Samantha Zeltser, Richard Zhuang, Erin Wong, Tristan Wan, and Eric Pei are joined by coach Dr. Doris Stanick after winning the Cyber Challenge at the 2019 National Science Bowl. (Photo credit: National Science Bowl)