Local students take home prize in national webite competition

Students from Manual Arts in Exposition Park, Central City Value, Loyola High School and 32nd Street (USC-MAST) in University Park took home a laptop computer for the website they created "Amazonia: Endangered Beauty."

The USC TRIO Upward Bound Math/Science Program team, under the coaching of Oscar Menjivar, took home "honorable mention" at the national OracleThinkquest competition.

From the Amazonia Website.

From their site: "The Amazon Rainforest is in grave danger. Uncontrolled deforestation has leveled huge amounts of the forest, leaving hundreds of animal species and indigenous tribes homeless. Every second, about a hundred yards worth of trees are cut down. To put it into a clearer perspective, imagine a football field full of trees disappearing in the blink of an eye. Our mission is to bring this global catastrophe to you, and keep this endangered beauty from becoming extinct."

"All of us worked together on weekdays and Saturdays to try to achieve our goal and improve our website," the students wrote.. "We received a lot of help and support from our mentor/ teacher, Oscar Menjivar, who allowed us to borrow one of his spare laptops to work on the project at home. With this laptop we could work anywhere and get our work completed."

In addition to working on weekends and outside of class, they met five times a week to work on the website.

"We sacrificed many privileges in our overtime sessions. We had to postpone lunches with dates, dances with girls and even parties with friends," they wrote. "Despite our countless arguments, constant phone calls and occasional physical motivation, we learned to cooperate, distribute the work amongst each other, and depend on the other members as a whole. We discovered each of our talents and worked with one another to achieve what we are proud to call our site."

Diversity was an important part of the group:
"We all come from different cultures, yet we appreciate each other as family," they wrote. "In our group, there is a great representation of Salvadorians, which consists of Cristina, Edward, Lenny, Marco and Pablo’s originated from Guatemala, and Nykeemah's family is from the United States."

The International Competition Team had these three students:
Christina Bonilla (10th Grade) - Manual Arts HS,
Lenny Gonzalez (11th Grade) - Central City Value High School
Edward Ramirez (11th Grade) - Loyola High School

The team also had the following students that participated in the National Competition and won a Silver medal:
Nykeemah McClendon (12th Grade) - 32nd Street (USC-MAST),
Pablo Dominguez (10th Grade) - Belmont HS,
Orlando Orantes (10th Grade) - Manual Arts HS

"We are very exited, since this is the 1st TRiO team to win such high honor in the history of this competiton," said Cecilia Carbajal of USC Trio.

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