- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2005

The science team from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County won the National Science Bowl championship yesterday for the fourth consecutive year.

The Thomas Jefferson team beat Mission San Jose High School of Fremont, Calif., in the competition’s final 20-minute contest by a score of 126-60.

“It’s been exhilarating,” said Sharon Baker, mathematics teacher at Thomas Jefferson and the team’s coach. “We’ve had a couple close wins among the best schools in this country.”

The team from Thomas S. Wootton High School of Rockville placed fifth among 16 finalists. The other local team in the three-day competition was Benjamin Banneker Academic High School of Northwest. Banneker did not make the final round.

The 15th annual competition, which involved more than 300 students representing 63 high schools, ended yesterday at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase. The U.S. Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl to encourage students to study mathematics and science.

Before the awards were presented, Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Clay Sell quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said, “Science is the work to which the young should lay their hands.”

Changes in the climate may be the greatest challenge of the 21st century, said M. Diane Bodman, wife of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. The display of intelligence of the contestants “makes us confident that you will meet our environmental and physical challenges in the future,” Mrs. Bodman said.

Sam Lederer, captain of the Thomas Jefferson team, plans to study physics at Harvard University in the fall. The 17-year-old senior from Lorton was a member of the winning Science Bowl team last year.

“It’s pretty interesting,” he said yesterday. “The lights were pretty bright. Actually, they were kind of warm. It was all right. My hands were kind of cool.”

Sam received a long hug of congratulations from his mother, Suzanne Lederer. “He’s always been interested in physics,” she said.

Other Thomas Jefferson team members are: senior Matthew Isakowitz, who plans to study aeronautical engineering at Princeton University in the fall; juniors Lisa Marrone and Charlotte Seid; and sophomore Logan Kearsley.

Mrs. Baker said all members of the Thomas Jefferson team are straight-A students. Good grades are one of the elements she considers when she puts together a team, she said.

The team won several prizes, including a trip to Alaska that they expect to take next month. The students will climb a glacier, raft on the Nenana River and fly over the trans-Alaska pipeline.

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