Kansas stu­dents go for gold at Sci­ence Olympiad Re­mains thought to be lo­cal doc­tor

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - LOCAL - By ROBERT A. CRON­KLE­TON By RICK MONT­GOMERY

Reid Buck­ing­ham and Alex Trent knelt next to their cat­a­pult named “Bessie 2” on Satur­day af­ter­noon, dis­cussing how tight to make the ten­sion.

Com­pet­ing at the North­east Kansas Sci­ence Olympiad, the two 14-year-old stu­dents from Cen­tral Ju­nior High in Lawrence were pre­par­ing to launch a pro­jec­tile that they hoped would land in­side a bucket.

Reid counted down be­fore fir­ing a ball. The aim was true. But the pro­jec­tile fell short, strik­ing about 20 cen­time­ters in front.

“We did a lot bet­ter than we were ex­pect­ing to,” Reid said later. “It was a big im­prove­ment — a big im­prove­ment.”

Reid said the com­pe­ti­tion was a chance to go back in his­tory and learn how can­nons were made.

“This is ob­vi­ously a lot smaller than what they would use,” Reid said. “This is the kind of stuff they would use in the me­dieval times to throw flam­ing rocks at each other.”

The Sci­ence Olympiad at­tracted teams from 20 mid­dle schools and 20 high schools in north­east­ern Kansas. About 600 stu­dents com­peted in this year’s tour­na­ment, held at John­son County Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Over­land Park.

The top teams will go on to the state tour­na­ment to be held in early April in Wi­chita. In­di­vid­u­als who won gold medals also will com­pete at the state level, said Jeremy Way, the re­gional di­rec­tor for the North­east Kansas Sci­ence Olympiad and the coach for St. James Academy in Lenexa.

“It gives them a place to be­long, and we en­cour­age teamwork,” Way said of the Sci­ence Olympiad. “All of the events are run in pairs, so they al­ways have a part­ner to work with.”

In one event, Mark Dar­ling and Lily John­son read­ied their plane for flight. Lily hooked a rub­ber band onto a pro­pel­ler and be­gan spin­ning the pro­pel­ler. Hold­ing the plane up, she let it go.

The plane with sil­ver My­lar wings took flight. But it then arced into the ground. The time of flight was 2.6 sec­onds. The sec­ond flight lasted a lit­tle longer — 3.1 sec­onds.

That didn’t dis­cour­age the two 14-year-olds from In­dian Woods Mid­dle School in Over­land Park.

“Every­one else’s is a lot bet­ter, but we built this in about a day,” Mark said.

“But we had fun with it,” Lily added. “It is our first plane.”

Mean­while, the Tonganoxie Mid­dle School team of Ja­cob Tollef­son, 11, and Austin Har­ris, 14, saw their plane cir­cle around twice be­fore land­ing .

“I think it flew bet­ter to­day than most of its test flights,” Austin said. It was air­borne for about 10 sec­onds, Ja­cob added.

“It is cool to see your kid do good stuff,” said John Tollef­son, Ja­cob’s fa­ther and team coach.. “It is fun to see them ex­cited about the com­pe­ti­tion — and about sci­ence.” To reach Robert A. Cron­kle­ton, call 816-234-4261or send e-mail to bcron­kle­ton@kc­star.com.

Body found in Haitian ho­tel de­stroyed by earth­quake is prob­a­bly founder of KCK clinic.

A body re­cov­ered last week from the ru­ins of a Haitian ho­tel has been ten­ta­tively iden­ti­fied as Kansas City area pe­di­a­tri­cian Frank Vaughters, his sis­ter said Satur­day.

Vaughters, who 20 years ago founded the Turner House Chil­dren’s Clinic in Kansas City, Kan., was 63.

He was vis­it­ing Port-auPrince to over­see a fam­i­ly­plan­ning and chil­dren’s health clinic he cre­ated there when the Jan. 12 earth­quake de­stroyed the Ho­tel Mon­tana. Re­mains found Thurs­day were matched to Vaughters through den­tal records. Con­clu­sive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is pend­ing an au­topsy in Delaware, said Lucy Vaughters.

“For all in­tents and pur­poses, as far as we’re con­cerned, it’s him,” she said. “It is nice to have a sense of clo­sure.”

In 1990 Vaughters launched Turner House af­ter comb­ing the Kansas City area in search of its need­i­est neigh­bor­hood — which he de­ter­mined to be around Third Street and Ste­wart Av­enue in north­east Kansas City, Kan.

“He went door to door to find what was needed,” said the clinic’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Den­nis Boody. “We know the first year we treated 450 pa­tients. …Last year we saw over 4,000 in­di­vid­ual pa­tients” and charted nearly 10,000 pa­tient vis­its.

“It’s safe to say that, be­cause of Frank Vaughters, lit­er­ally tens of thou­sands of chil­dren in this area have re­ceived med­i­cal treat­ment they oth­er­wise may not have got­ten.”

Turner House, which re­lo­cated to Bethany Med­i­cal Plaza sev­eral years ago, re­cently ded­i­cated a a 20th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion to the miss­ing Vaughters.

In Haiti he es­tab­lished a foun­da­tion, the Project for Fam­ily Plan­ning and Aid for Chil­dren, in the com­mu­nity of Cite Soleil — “the poor­est place in Haiti,” ac­cord­ing to the project’s Web site. “He kept see­ing so many prob­lems that seemed un­solv­able” but was com­mit­ted to help, said Lucy Vaughters, who is from the Seat­tle area.

Vaughters had a pe­di­atric prac­tice at 6650 Troost Ave.

From his ho­tel in Port-auPrince, his last phone mes­sage to his girl­friend in Kansas City, Marge Therio, came hours be­fore the quake. Ev­ery­thing was fine, he said, and he’d try to send e-mail later.

His fam­ily is plan­ning a memo­rial ser­vice in April. To reach Rick Mont­gomery, call 816-234-4410 or send e-mail to rmont­gomery@kc­star.com.

AL­LI­SON LONG | THE KANSAS CITY STAR

At the Sci­ence Olympiad, Leav­en­worth se­nior James Ten­nant, 18, launched a rocket in the “Egg-O-Naut” com­pe­ti­tion Satur­day at John­son County Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

Frank Vaughters

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