School science teams show their stuff

Parker Auditorium at La Jolla High School overflowed with hyped-up elementary students and their cheering parents on April 28 at the first Rendezvous Engineering Mathematics Science Academic Competition.

Twenty-eight teams participated in the event, which was sponsored by the Rendezvous Science Center, the La Jolla High School Science Team, Meraki and the San Diego Science Educators Association.

The participating third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students hailed from four schools: La Jolla Elementary, Bird Rock Elementary, Florence Elementary and Santa Margarita Elementary.

“This is the first time we have run it and we hope to continue and grow,” said Martin Teachworth, a physics teacher at LJHS and the coach of the LJHS Science Team.

Teachworth put his teaching skills to good use as he ran the event.

The teams sat together in the first four rows of the auditorium. They used a digital device to answer, one by one, the multiple-choice questions that appeared on a huge screen on the stage. Questions ranged in difficulty from easy (third grade) to difficult (high school), with the harder questions earning more points.

The teams had a limited amount of time to answer each question. Then the computer revealed how many votes each answer had received, and which answer was correct.

Parents and siblings tried to figure out the questions themselves before the time ran out. When a large number of teams got a difficult question right, the audience erupted into applause and cheers. It sounded like a sporting event. Children were covering their ears to soften the noise.

A Bird Rock Elementary team won the “varsity,” or fifth-grade, division. Called the Lighting Bolts, its members included Hannah Musante, the captain, Preston Weber, Bridge Gunn-Wilkinson, Jack Barone and Jeffery Tellew.

A La Jolla Elementary team took the top prize in the “Junior Varsity,” or fourth-grade, division. Captain Estee Foroozan’s father is Ben Foroozan, chief executive officer of Rendezvous Science Center, a major sponsor of the event. Also on the Armadillos team were Sophie Bolinger, Huson Liu, Alexandra Backlund, and William Dorst. They were coached by teacher Cristina Bisciglia.

La Jolla Elementary teams also swept the “novice,” or third-grade, division. Team Blue, featuring Kayla Nitahara and Jennifer Andrey and coached by teacher Irene Akiyama, won first place.

The event was organized by Teachworth, his son Matthew and Foroozan.

For more information about the REMS Academic Competition, visit

or e-mail Teachworth at