For the Melwood Elementary School Science Bowl team, enduring through many “working lunches” paid strong dividends Tuesday as they secured a spot in the elementary school quarterfinals with a resounding 300-145 win over newcomers Tayac Elementary School in Fort Washington.
“We just practice every day during lunch while we eat,” said team captain Jamie Petty, 11, of Clinton, a sixth-grader at the Upper Marlboro school.
With Tuesday’s win, Melwood is slated to face off against Berwyn Heights Elementary School on Feb. 12.
The Science Bowl is Prince George’s County Public Schools’ televised quiz-show competition, now in its 27th year.
In the preliminary round, Melwood defeated Pointer Ridge Elementary School in Bowie by a score of 235-145, while Tayac Elementary beat North Forestville Elementary School 185-150.
Jamie, who said he wants to be a chemist, said that although his team didn’t enter Tuesday’s competition with a specific strategy in mind, strong fundamentals and daily practices played a large part in their success.
“We just came and worked together,” he said.
Melwood Elementary sixth-grader Noah Oxley, 11, of Clinton said the team came in feeling confident about most of the categories. Noah, who aspires to become president of the United States, said he hopes to one day make a difference in the scientific community by revamping the nation’s space program.
“I know that with the economy now we can’t send people to space, so I’d like to be able to be the one to send people back into space,” he said.
Although Tayac Elementary lost in its second-round game to Melwood, host Dave Zahren said the students did a remarkable job, given the school has not participated in the Science Bowl in more than 10 years.
“To win that first game really spoke to their preparation,” Zahren said. “And in the second round, they never gave up.”
Tayac Elementary fifth-grader Darryl Lomax, 11, of Fort Washington said he was interested in the Science Bowl because he wanted to be a trail blazer at the school.
“I wanted to be able to go down in history as the school’s first Science Bowl team [in recent memory],” Darryl said. “I’m also really into science and I like doing experiments.”
Shelley Jones, a fifth-grade teacher and the coordinator for Tayac Elementary’s Science Bowl team, said the entire school is “really excited” to get back involved in the competition.
“The team stays after once a week, and we go over the past competitions [online],” Jones said. “So they compete with each other while watching the old videos.”
The Tayac Elementary team said that while they were disappointed with their second-round loss, they all planned to return next year as part of the team representing Isaac J. Gourdine Middle School in Fort Washington.
“It takes hard work and teamwork,” said fifth-grader Zachary Severance, 10, of Fort Washington. “We need to practice every day and communicate.”