HomeBlocksFront-TopLa Cañada Preparatory Impresses at County Fair

La Cañada Preparatory Impresses at County Fair

On March 11, the 74th annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair showcased more than 900 individual and student-team projects at USC’s Shrine Exposition Hall.
The fair featured some of the most accomplished middle and high school students that the county has to offer. Eighteen categories, ranging from chemistry and microbiology to environmental studies to artificial intelligence, comprised the Junior Division, from which La Cañada Preparatory gleaned two first-place winners, a second-place winner, a third-place winner and an honorable mention.
Zoya Qureshi won first place in the engineering research category for “Electrolysis and Desalination: a Novel Approach,” a project proposing an energy efficient and environmentally friendly desalination method. The project was also a finalist for fair’s “Best of Show” award.
Ben Kuzoyan won first place in the American Meteorological Society special category and third place in the Earth/space science category for “Improving Solar-panel Efficiency” through exploration of different variables, including optimizing angle placement of panels.
Allen Torosyan won second place in the environmental management category for “Black Soldier Fly Larva Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas and Deliver Protein and Fertilizer” as demonstrated by comparing BSFL organic waste consumption to that of meal worms.
Arina Vahramyan received an honorable mention in the ecology category for “Is It Just Water Under the Bridge?” and her analysis of water contamination of the Los Angeles River.
Their science teacher, Steve Miller, attributes his students’ successes to the “remarkable dedication and depth of La Cañada Prep’s Science Department.” He added that the school begins science education in pre-K and that it remains an academic focus through graduation in eighth grade. The science program has hosted its own science fair annually for the past 26 years for third, fifth and seventh graders, organized by fellow science teacher, Annette Kiureghian. Miller emphasized that critiques that students receive from parent-body judges also prepare them for competition at the county level. He feels that the next step for his students may be the most challenging because two top-finishers, Quershi and Torosyan, will need “to rededicate themselves in order to prepare for competition at the California-state level as L.A. County representatives on April 14.”
La Cañada Preparatory’s educational success is rooted in its founder, Terry Villanueva, whose commitment to educational excellence began locally with establishing The Learning Castle Elementary School in 1992. The school expanded to include another campus, The Sand Castle Preschool, in 2015. All three schools are co-directed by Ms. Villanueva and Justin Whalin.

First published in the April 11 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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