Let's get quizzical: Homestead team goes national


Colin McNamara/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School’s Quizbowl team placed 15th at the National Scholastic Championship, held last month in Chicago. Pictured, from left, are team members Brandon Herren, William Scott, Alistair Gray and Wade Wong.

Competing against nearly 100 schools, Homestead High School’s Quizbowl team placed 15th at the National Scholastic Championship, held June 10 and 11 in Chicago.

Homestead’s A team comprised Los Altos residents Brandon Herren and William Scott, along with Alistair Gray and Wade Wong. Herren and Scott graduated last month; Gray and Wong are entering their senior years.

St. Francis student wins honors for Zika research


Courtesy of Mythri Ambatipudi
St, Francis High School student Mythri Ambatipudi presents her award-winning research on the Zika virus at an international competition in Los Angeles.

If the phrase “youth science fair” conjures in your mind images of baking soda volcanoes, eggs soaking in Coca-Cola and wobbly Rube Goldberg machines, it’s time to reset your expectations.

Mythri Ambatipudi, a rising senior at St. Francis High School, won a slate of awards this spring for her research on the devastating effects of the Zika virus. Ambatipudi took home the Best in Championship grand prize from the Synopsys Santa Clara County science fair, won second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, placed at the California State Science Fair and was named an Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius by the California Life Sciences Institute.

Bats and books help local kids beat the heat at the library


Photos Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A Big Brown bat chows down on a mealworm snack beneath the bright lights of a magnifying video projector.

Outside, it may have been a sweltering California afternoon, but inside a darkened room at the Los Altos main library last week, local kids gave their rapt attention to a softer, muted scene.

In serene nighttime sepia tones, a slow-motion video showed a bat curving its body balletically as it hunted a moth, quietly chittering. The packed room of parents and kids, from toddlers in laps to older elementary students, oohed and aahed at the animal’s graceful flight, and a chorus of disappointed groans filled the room when the bat’s prey escaped.

Local kids go high-tech at Foothill STEM camp


Photos Jane Ridgeway/Town Crier
Seventh-graders Annabelle Lo, above left, of Loyola School and Abby Berwick of Cupertino Middle School examine the results of a crystal-growing experiment at Foothill College’s STEM Summer Camp. Instructor Adrian Phillips, below right, advises seventh-grader Tanner Muret of Cupertino Middle School on a three-dimensional animated scene on the final day of camp.

Foothill College bustled with unusually youthful energy this month as middle and high school students from across the Bay Area descended on the campus for the fifth annual STEM Summer Camp.

Running in four-day sessions through July 20, the camp offers short, intensive courses in everything from roller-coaster science to the chemistry of cooking. The camp’s focus, said founder Oxana Pantchenko, remains unchanged since its inception: introducing young campers to innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math concepts and equipment and awakening their passions.

Drunk Busters offer sobering lesson on risks of impaired driving


/Town Crier Eighth-graders at Blach Intermediate School feel the disorienting effects of Drunk Busters goggles at a recent alcohol education class led by Officer Ryan Langone of the Los Altos Police Department. The goggles, which distort students’ vision, are designed to mimic the effects of intoxication on perception, motor control and response time.

Eighth-graders at Blach Intermediate School reeled, weaved and stumbled recently, simulation goggles strapped to their faces, as participants in a program intended to teach students about the dangers of drunk driving.

Facilitated by Officer Ryan Langone of the Los Altos Police Department, the alcohol and drug education program, which also operates yearly at Egan Junior High and district high schools, uses specialty Drunk Busters goggles and carts to simulate the impairment experienced during alcohol or drug intoxication.

Local students build a better beehive


Photos Courtesy of Sivaram Krishnan
Mihir Srivastava, from front left, Aeshon Balasubramanian and Ajay Krishnan demonstrate their FIRST LEGO League invention – the Safehive – for customer Richard Lacampagne and his daughter, Lisa.

The attack was swift and merciless.

Within 20 minutes of a local beekeeper setting up hives in Los Altos sixth-grader Ajay Krishnan’s backyard for a demonstration, predatory ants had them surrounded.


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