Weekly roundup: Irvine scholars advance to National Science Bowl, OCDE honors school counselors and counseling advocates, and more

University High School students hold up their 2023 Regional Champions banner for the US Dept. of Energy's Regional Science Bowl. (Courtesy of Irvine Unified School District)
(Courtesy of Irvine Unified School District)

The science team at University High School recently surpassed more than 20 other high schools throughout Southern California to make it to the finals of the National Science Bowl.

As television outlet KCAL News reported, five students from the Irvine Unified School District campus were crowned the regional champions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Regional High School Science Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, Feb. 4. This competition, organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, tests high school students around the region in subjects like math, chemistry, biology, physics, earth and space science through a Jeopardy-style event.

University High has placed first in this competition five times in the last six years, with a winning streak from 2018 to 2021.

University High science department Chair David Knight, who also acts as coach of the science bowl team, said students spend hours outside of class reading college-level books and academic works to prepare for the test questions.

Countless study sessions and practice rounds in the months leading up to the contest led Benjamin Fan, Wendy Cao, Nathan Ouyang, Julianne Wu and Yufei Chen to clinch the top spot.

“These outstanding students showed determination, good sportsmanship and worked together, demonstrating the true spirit of a University High Trojan,” Knight said in a press release.  “Our students have an incredible depth of knowledge in each field of science. I am proud of how hard they worked and what they have accomplished.”

The Irvine high schoolers will compete at the National Science Bowl held in Washington, D.C. from April 27 to May 1.

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • From collaborating with teachers to gathering data, the OCDE Newsroom has gathered some little known facts about the role of school counselors in honor of National School Counseling Week. 
National School Counseling Week graphic
  • Approximately 550 Orange County high schoolers tested their knowledge during the high-energy Super Quiz Relay event at the countywide academic decathlon Feb. 4.
  • On March 3 and March 4, community leaders, educators, survivors and others will discuss the challenges and strategies for protecting those at risk of human trafficking as part of this year’s Ensure Justice conference hosted by OCDE and Vanguard University.
  • An Orange Unified School District parent alleged that the school board majority violated California’s open meeting laws when it replaced two top district administrators, the Voice of OC reported.
Students compete in the Super Quiz Relay at the Orange County Academic Decathlon.
  • Flag football will become an official sport for girls in the upcoming 2023-24 school year following the approval of a plan by the California Interscholastic Federation.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.