Four students from the Westside Neighborhood School in Del Rey competed in the California State Science Fair May 19th and 20th, at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Eighth-grader Alicia Lovelace placed third in the Plant Biology category and seventh-grader J.P. Waggoner IV earned an honorable mention in the same category at the state competition.

At the Los Angeles County Science Fair last month, 16 Westside Neighborhood School students participated, with ten receiving honors.

The 57th annual California State Science Fair drew 953 participants from 359 schools across the state. The other Westside Neighborhood School students who qualified to attend the state competition were seventh-grader Bryan Kronenberg and eighth-grader Hayden Bromberg.

“What really shines about our students is that they truly understand the scientific method,” said Westside Neighborhood School science teacher Courtney Chu, who advises science fair participants.

“From the very beginning of their time here, our students make observations and predictions. We heard from the judges and others attending the fair how impressed they were with our students’ knowledge of the scientific method, how well they presented their work and how well they could articulate the science behind their projects.”

The student-oriented science program at the school is geared toward different types of learners, she added. Students choose their own projects for the science fair and are permitted to select from a scientific discipline outside of what they are learning in their current grade.

Another distinction of the program is that the school maintains two science laboratories, a rarity at K-8 schools, Chu said.

“There is a spirit of collaboration, not competition that informs the school,” says Brenda Parker, head of school.

Chu added, “The students compliment one another on their work. We had three students competing in the same category this year, but they were genuinely happy for each other’s successes.”

“I’m so proud of our WNS students and their showing in this year’s science fair,” said Parker. “Our students always do well in the competition, but they did extraordinarily well this year.”