Fremont student named a finalist in national science contest

A Fremont 17-year-old has been named a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, a national student science competition.

Kevin Chen, a 12th-grader at Mission San Jose High, was one of 40 finalists whose original science research project was selected by the contest's jury of professional scientists, mathematicians and engineers. He was honored for using spare parts to create an analyzer that is able to determine the electric characteristics of an object.

All finalists received $7,500 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Between March 7 and Wednesday, they attended a luncheon at the White House, met with leading scientists and national leaders and attended a black-tie gala. They also displayed their projects at the National Geographic Society, a science and educational nonprofit organization based in the nation's capital.

Tuesday, 10 finalists were selected to advance in the competition. Though Chen's project didn't finish in the top 10, he'll stay busy. He plays the violin, is fluent in Chinese and serves as a tutor at the Olive Children Foundation, a Fremont group dedicated to improving students' skills in public speaking and critical thinking. He also is a member of the engineering division of Mission San Jose High's Science Olympiad team.

Hayward students vote in mock conclave

Students from four Hayward Catholic schools took part in a mock conclave, mimicking the one held in Rome this week, which was taped and shown in classrooms in the Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose dioceses.

All Saints, St. Clement, St. Bede and St. Joachim sent three students each to taping of "What Is a Conclave?" that aired on the Catholic Telemedia Network and is available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/oB4p96zikyE.

Before the junior-high students gathered in Oakland, "they had to do some research and pick a cardinal they though would be a good pope," said All Saints Principal Jennifer Diaz.

One of her students, seventh-grader Cassie Vonnegut, picked Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was selected by the real cardinals to be pope, Diaz said. "Her reasons were spot on."

As in a real conclave, the students were locked in and cast ballots for pope.

"They didn't come to a consensus," Diaz said.

Alameda County spelling bee Saturday

Forty-three elementary and junior high school students throughout the county will complete Saturday in the annual Alameda County Spelling Bee Championship.

The 31 elementary students will begin their spell-off at 9 a.m. at Canyon Middle School, and the 12 junior high students at 12:30 p.m.

The top two elementary winners will advance to the state spelling bee April 20 in Stockton, with the top two junior high students competing on the state level May 11 in San Rafael.

The local competition is hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education.

Local elementary schools taking part include, from San Lorenzo: Bay, Corvallis, Dayton, Del Rey, Grant and Hillside. From Fremont: Hirsch, Millard, Parkmont, Weibel, Mission Valley and Niles. From Castro Valley: Independent and Jensen. From New Haven: Delaine Eastin and Pioneer.

Canyon and Creekside middle schools from Castro Valley are competing at the junior high level.

Canyon Middle School is at 19600 Cull Canyon Road in Castro Valley.

Homeroom is a weekly roundup of news from schools in the greater Hayward and Tri-City areas.