Kansas students go for gold at Science Olympiad Remains thought to be local doctor
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 bcronkle[email protected]star.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 rmont[email protected]star.com.
At the Science Olympiad, Leavenworth senior James Tennant, 18, launched a rocket in the “Egg-O-Naut” competition Saturday at Johnson County Community College.