DuBois Central Catholic will be sending thirteen science students and their projects to the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science State Competition in May at the Main Campus of Penn State. According to science instructors, Jenn Graeca and Renee Gressler, we were happy to have fourteen students ready and willing to enter the regional event in Altoona recently, and then to have thirteen of them advance to PJAS states shows the knowledge and skill they possess.
Graeca explains, “For the past three months, students have been perfecting their projects and to have so many advancing to the state level is outstanding for a school our size.” Gressler adds, “And qualifying for states requires a minimum score of four from the panel of judges scoring each presentation, which is an accomplishment as well.
“For sure, we experienced our best year ever,” says Jenn Greaca. With 13 out of the 14 students moving on to the state competition, and three of those students receiving a perfect score, and six DCC students receiving special awards, Central’s science students were well represented at regionals,’ states Gressler.
Three DCC students achieved a perfect score: Ashley Mayes, Trisha Gupta, and Michael Zaffuto. Mayes, a freshman, also won the Mickey Maholtz Physics Award, the only recipient of this award at regionals and Zaffuto received a Judges Award.
Five students received the Perseverance Award for participating in PJAS for three or more years: Michael Zaffuto, a senior; Trisha Gupta, Macey Hanes, and Rebecca Pifer, all juniors; and Meghan Graeca, a sophomore.
In addition to Mayes, Gupta, Zafutto, Hanes, Pifer and Graeca, also advancing to the state PJAS level of competition in May at University Park are the following: Sophomore, Jessica Tomasko; Junior, Gabrielle Caruso; seniors Natalie Curtis and Cullen Engle; and DCC 8th graders Lindsey Reiter, Alex Ochs and Sydney Spencer. DCC student Elizabeth Gankosky competed at regionals, earning a second place finish.
Both Gressler and Graeca state, “The determination of these select students to compete at regionals and at states actually strengthens our science curriculum and its focus for all students at Central.”