The Science Service today announced seventeen Blair students as semifinalists in the 2002 61st Intel Science Talent Search, putting Blair in first place in the nation for number of semifinalists, and awarded Blair $17,000.
Seventeen students, all of them in the Math/Science Magnet, received $1,000 each. Blair also received $1,000 per semifinalist from the contest, money which, according to principal Phillip Gainous, will be placed in the Blair technology fund, headed by Magnet coordinator Eileen Steinkraus.
The seventeen semifinalists in the 2002 Intel Science Talent Search are seniors Jennifer Alyono, Jacob Burnim, Radhika Char, Steven Chemtob, Enoch Chu, Byron Drumheller, Jennifer Helgeson, Jesse Jou, Kang-Xing Jin, Nancy Ku, Jean Li, John Li, Edward Lin, Alexey Rostaphsov, Rahul Satija, Gregory Vieira and Bingni Wen.
Superintendent Jerry Weast noted that perennial excellence at this Talent Search is a laudable custom at Blair. It is one thing, said Weast, to win nationwide two years out of three, but "it's completely another thing to have a tradition where you have winners every year."
Citing the example of this year's upgrade of library computers, Gainous stressed that the money from the contest will help the entire Blair population, not just the Magnet. "Everybody benefits from what the kids have done," Gainous said.
Gainous declined receipt of the prize check during the awards ceremony at Blair, deferring the prize to Jonetta Russell, the Magnet teacher who coordinates students' entries in the contest. Gainous expressed regret that Russell will not be working with the program in the future, but was glad that she could "go out with a bang." "This is Mrs. Russell's last year, and this is a big group, so it's kind of fitting," Gainous said. "This couldn't have been a better send-off."
Dr. Weast praised everyone involved in the effort. Said Weast, "I'm excited. I think it really is a testament to the teachers and students here at Blair."
The Montgomery County School Board has been planning the creation of a consortium program involving Blair which would assign to each school one or more "signature" programs. Weast was noncommittal about how the Magnet's contribution to Blair's and the county's success would affect the Magnet's fate in the Consortium. Said Weast, "We have no intention of destroying what we've been achieving."
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