Student Wins 2nd at State Science Fair

Congratulations to Sixth Grade student Olivia Cevasco, who placed second at the California State Science Fair. She now qualifies for the national Broadcom MASTERS Competition.

Olivia was honored for her submission to the Microbiology (Medical) Junior Division, in which she determined that Staphylococcus bacteria is resistant to human tears. If you’d like to read more about Olivia’s project, “Healing Tears,” click here.

The Half Moon Bay Review also published an article about her experience:

A local sixth-grader’s science fair project will now move on to the national competition level after placing second in its category at the California State Science Fair last week.

Sea Crest School student Olivia Cevasco took home a medal in the medical microbiology category for “Healing Tears.” For her project, she tested how well tears could kill bacteria against several known antibacterial treatments. She found that Bactine was most successful at killing staphylococcus aureus. Cevasco also found that human tears didn’t work at all.

By winning second place at the state fair, held May 23-24 at the University of Southern California, Cevasco now qualifies for the national Broadcom MASTERS (math, applied science, technology and engineering for rising starts) Competition. In that contest, hundreds of top projects in the country are whittled down to 300, then to the top 30.

“Olivia is now looking forward to applying to this national fair, so she will be busy for sure!” mother Lilia Cevasco wrote in an email to the Review.

Cevasco was one of two Coastside students to go to the state fair. Cunha Intermediate School eighth-grader Sonya Cullen’s project “Ghost Fishing,” on alternatives to cotton twine for crab traps qualified but did not place among the winners.

Cullen wrote in an email that attending the state fair was “one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

“I am very proud to have made it that far,” she wrote. “I met many teens like myself that enjoy science and want to pursue STEM-related careers.”

8th Grade Student Honored by City for Leadership

In a ceremony on May 3rd, Eighth Grade student Thomas Hurrell received the City of Half Moon Bay 8th Grade Leadership Award. This award is granted to one Middle School student in the city who exemplifies work ethic, community service, and citizenship.

“I wasn’t expecting an award of any sort, and I was grateful,” says Thomas. “I am always thinking about how I can make a difference, and I think organizing is my strong point. I take on leadership roles because I enjoy them.”

Thomas is a First Rank Boy Scout, which means he is halfway to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout. He volunteers at Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay, a weekly supper for struggling families on the coastside.

“On the first Thursday of every month, we serve low-income families and homeless individuals in a restaurant setting. I’ve done that for the past three years at the senior center down the street from Sea Crest,” says Thomas. “I also enjoy volunteering at Mariners Church, where I help run tech for them in the summer.”

Thomas is a member of the cross country team and was one of the top runners at the recent Scholarship Run for tuition assistance. He also plays tennis and has participated in the Sea Crest leadership elective.

“Thomas can always be counted on to do the right thing,” says Michelle Giacotto, Director of Learning and Teaching. “He leads by example, and he does it in unassuming ways. He steps up quietly, and we’re glad to see him receiving this recognition.”

Sea Crest Alumnus Named National Merit Finalist

Ian TigheSea Crest graduate Ian Tighe, a senior at Junipero Serra High School, has been recognized as a National Merit Finalist. This distinction places him in the top one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Tighe has also starred in Tri-School plays and musicals, most notably as Danny Zuko in Greaseperforming as part of the combined cast from Junipero Serra, Mercy, and Notre Dame High Schools. A member of the National Honor society, Tighe has a 4.6 grade point average. He is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Men’s Chorus, Tri-School Chorus, the Eleven Dollar Singers, and the Computer Programming Club. He practices martial arts outside of school and plans to pursue engineering in college.

The National Merit Finalists from Junipero Serra “exemplify everything that’s wonderful about Serra High School,” said Serra Principal Barry Thornton, Ed.D. “They have been leaders in all aspects of our program – from the performing arts and music to spiritual and academic leadership. Ian has exemplified excellence in all areas of the school. I am delighted that he has been recognized as a National Merit Finalist.”

“Ian exemplifies our mission to express creativity and lead with courage,” said Sea Crest Director of Learning and Teaching Michelle Giacotto. “He found himself and his passions during his time here and went on to excel at those passions in high school. We are really proud to see what he’s achieved, and I know he’ll continue to find success in college and beyond.”

Congratulations, Ian!

If you have alumni news to share, please contact us.


Students Advance to State & Regional Science Fairs

On March 1st, four of our students participated in the San Mateo County STEM Fair. Today, we’re proud to announce that all four of our participating students won first or second place in their categories!

The winning students are…

  • Olivia Cevasco – 1st Place, 6th Grade Biological Sciences (advancing to State)
  • Thomas Freedman – 2nd Place, 7th Grade Behavioral Sciences (advancing to Bay Area Science Fair)
  • Ryan Hildebrand – 2nd Place, 7th Grade Physics (advancing to Bay Area Science Fair)
  • Michael McCulloch – 2nd Place, 7th Grade Materials Sciences (advancing to Bay Area Science Fair)

More than 325 students from San Mateo County presented their projects to a panel of judges at the STEM Fair. Projects were ranked based on creativity, scientific process, quality of the scientific poster, and interview skills.

“I am proud of the students for their achievements,” said Middle School Science Teacher Rob Kashima. “They owned their work throughout the process, from conception to finished product.”


San Mateo County STEM Fair Award Winners

Clockwise from upper left: Ryan Hildebrand, Thomas Freedman, Michael McCullough, and Olivia Cevasco.

Four of our students won awards at the San Mateo County STEM Fair on Tuesday, March 1st. They will all attend the awards ceremony on Tuesday, March 8th at Hiller Aviation Museum. At that time, they will learn the specifics of their standings.

The Seventh Grade award winners were:

  • Thomas Freedman: “The Effects on Memory of Positive and Negative Words” in the Behavioral Sciences category.
  • Ryan Hildebrand: “How Does the Amount of Sunlight Impact the Energy Produced by a Solar Cell?” in the Physics category.
  • Michael McCulloch: “What is the Safest Type of Lunch Box?” in the Materials Science category.

New student Olivia Cevasco presented a project titled “Healing Tears” in the Sixth Grade Biological Systems category. Her project was completed while attending St. Charles School in San Carlos, under the guidance of Nicole Shimshock, and Mrs. Shimshock is kindly allowing Olivia to change the affiliation of her project to Sea Crest School. We are thrilled to have Olivia join our team of young scientists.

Internally at Sea Crest, two Seventh Grade students were also presented with a Special Award for Exemplary Projects:

  • Evan Reeve, “Energy Saving Automatic Light Technology”
  • Ryan Tate, “Drafting and Fuel Savings of Eighteen Wheelers”

“The one characteristic that I value most as a Science Teacher is perseverance,” says Science Teacher Rob Kashima, who leads the Sea Crest Science Fair each year. “All of these projects exemplified perseverance. Congratulations to all!”

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