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The City Journals

Bennion gets their brains in the game

May 18, 2017 11:09AM ● By Jet Burnham

Bennion's MESA Club teams earned two silver medals and one gold medal in MESA Day events. (Andrew Gee/Bennion Junior High)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Bennion Junior High has had a busy and successful season of academic competition. Here are some of the highlights.

State Math Contest

Braydon Le placed fifth in the eighth-grade division at the State Math Contest. He was invited to an awards banquet where he received $75 in prize money.

 Braydon was one of 15 students selected by the math department to represent Bennion in the State Math Contest held at BYU March 17.

Participants were challenged to solve 40 complex multiple choice math problems in less than two and a half hours.

“It was a great experience for the kids to showcase what they know,” said math teacher Le Vuong.

Once the test was over, there was an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet in the Cannon Cafeteria. Vuong said the students enjoyed getting a taste of campus life.

“They sure represented Bennion Junior High very well,” Vuong said. “I am so proud of them and the way they carried themselves so well during the competition.”

Students representing Bennion were:

Seventh-graders: Ava Curtis, Trueman Owen, Savanah Wendelobe, Sathya Tadinada and Josh Gilmore

Eighth-graders: Jessica Robinson, Amy Pitts, Daniel Sampson, Braydon Le and Dallas Taggart
Ninth-graders: Chloe Vuong, Maren Curtis, Chloe Robinson, Tremiti Childs and Samuel Kiguthi

MESA Day competition

The 2017 MESA Day competition was held March 16, and Bennion placed first in the middle school division. Nearly 250 students from various junior high and high schools came to exhibit their skills in math, engineering and science.

“The students learned a lot about building, competing, following directions and making and completing projects,” said MESA adviser Judith Hess.

Students competed in a robotics arm challenge, mouse trap cars, rotor egg drop, mystery event, straw tower building and a write-it-do-it exercise. 

Team 1, consisting of Ashton Gilmore, Emma Draper, Sami Kiguthi and Kenneth Gordon, won the silver medal in the Robotic Arm Challenge.

In preparation, students created pieces for the robotic arm with a 3-D printer and assembled them into a moveable hand. The project was programmed using an Arduino, a micro circuit board programmed to sense and control objects. With this technology, the thumb and all the fingers were able to react to their environment.

Team 3, Serena Wilde, Laura Parra, Yureila Rojas and Daniel Sampson, took gold in the Mystery Event, a math and logic problem-solving contest played like a Jeopardy game. Those same four students also earned the silver medal in the straw tower building event.

Other students who competed were:

Team 2: David Quezada, Charlie Scriver, Jason Dieu and Nyah Anderson

Team 4: Marin Curtis, Katlyn Oster, Bruce Crocket and Kate Okabe 

“They all worked very hard to get ready for the competition,” Hess said.

Regional history fair

Eighth-graders from the gifted and talented U.S. history class at Bennion highlighted a person or event that changed history. They presented their research as an exhibit, a research paper, a performance or a web page. Six projects were chosen for the Salt Lake Regional History Fair held March 17.

“This program is so great in helping students do history," said Brian Fries, who teaches the U.S. history. “It encourages them to develop a love for telling a history story.”
Joshua Speth took third place in the Individual Performance category with "J.S. Bach: Taking a Stand in History."

Daniel Sampson took second place in the research paper category with his paper titled “Wayne B. Wheeler: Taking a Stand by Passing American Prohibition.” 

These two winning submissions advanced to the state competition.

Debate team

Bennion’s debate team fought its way through competition using various debate formats. Seven members advanced to the state competition, said debate coach Kathleen Smith. They are:

Joshua Speth, Oratory
Cody Romney and Ezekiel Micheel, Policy
Parker Loutensock and Joshua Gilmore, Policy
Kenneth Gordon, Lincoln–Douglas
Renton Christensen, Lincoln–Douglas