By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Science team to compete Saturday

The annual event draws teams to the Portland State University campus from schools throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Spending the day at a college is exciting in itself, said eighth grader Trevor Hall, in his second year on the team.

But the tournament is the best part for Trevor and his teammates. All of them enjoy science and most of them relish competition.

“I was pretty much born to love science,” said Connor Shoepe, a seventh-grader.

Connor, who wants to become a doctor, keeps a copy of Gray’s Anatomy at his side.

“I read it every day,” he said. “It’s fun.”

He’s fascinated by the earth sciences as well as health science and biology.

Eighth-grader Noah Mayhew said he leans more toward the physical sciences, notably chemistry and physics. Those are the areas of specialization for him on the YCIS team.

Quinn Van Horn, also a seventh-grader, likes geology. When bowl questions turn to rocks and minerals, she’s likely to take the lead.

Gryphon Elliott, another seventh-grader, is a generalist. He enjoys all facets of science and is good at learning facts, even without trying.

Team members study and practice for the competition, said YCIS science teacher Lisa Jacobs, who coaches the team.

YCIS is the only school in Yamhill County that competes annually in the BPA Science Bowl.

The school has a long history of taking part. Jacobs, who has been teaching at YCIS for eight years, started it again a year or two after she joined the district.

Science bowl provides another after-school activity for students, especially those who might not be involved in sports, she said. It gives them a chance to compete and represent their school.

Along the way, it boosts their love of science and knowledge of scientific facts. That’s always a good thing, the teacher said.

Jacobs recruits students in the fall. During late fall and early winter, they meet several times a week to practice answering questions about earth, physical and life sciences, along with math and energy conservation.

They study science websites and books and take practice quizzes on the National Science Bowl website. And if there are gaps in their knowledge, Jacobs steps in with mini lessons.

“It gives kids who are really interested some extra high-level stuff,” she said. “And for all of them, it encourages their interest.”

Like Trevor, Jacobs also values holding the state competition on a college campus. For some students, that’s the draw, she said.

The YCIS team also includes seventh-grader Andrew Doran and eighth-graders Daniel Salewski, Ashley Shaw and Jesse Spence. In addition to their coach, the students will be accompanied to the Jeopardy-style competition by several parents.

The federal Bonneville Power Administration sponsors the event, which is expected to draw 128 middle school and high school teams this year. The agency provides T-shirts and goody bags to competitors.

Other science-related companies provide hands-on activities that day for students between rounds of competition.

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