Two teams from Belmont’s MESA (math, engineering, science and achievement) club, led by Veronica Galang, put their skills to the test in an intensive round of speaking and bridge building competitions this past week. The teams featured a bridge building sister/brother duo, Maria (11th grade) and Lorenzo Marcos (10th grade), and a 9th grade team. The dynamic trio of Celine Mamaid, Mohtasima Mohshina, and Mhret Gebremiceal competed in the speaking event.
The bridge competition required students to use Balsa wood that would withstand significant weight. Maria Marcos and Lorenzo Marcos created a structure that held 132 pounds, impressing the judges to merit a first place victory out of 35 high schools and middle schools. According to the victors, people initially doubted their bridge because it was so much smaller than the other competitors. “I learned that looks don’t matter, just how it’s constructed,” said Maria Marcos. “People were making fun of how small our bridge was,” said Lorenzo Marcos, “and they were the first ones to be eliminated.” Lorenzo Marcos felt empowered after the victory. “It made me happy and proved to my parents that I can be smart too.” Marcos also noted how Galang was instrumental in their success. “Galang is a great leader, helping us out with guidance,” noted Marcos.
According to Mhret Gebremiceal, the team chose a challenging topic of engineering oil replacement that would be appeal to the judges. The team took second place after facing an intimidating panel of experts. “Just because you want [first place] doesn’t mean you are going to get it,” said Gebremiceal in an exclusive interview with Sentinel reporters. After a grueling day of competition, the teams waited for the results. “It felt like the two hours we waited for the announcement were worth it after all the time we spent practicing and writing,” said Gebremiceal.
The teams will partake in another round of competition in the regional event, April 15. “I’m excited, but at the same time I am nervous [about the results],” said Gebremiceal. Lorenzo Marcos is also looking forward to the next opportunity to compete at a high level. “I feel like it’s a big step for my future,” said Marcos.
*Special thanks to Gerardo Bran for additional information, The Sentinel staff members for the interviews, and Jocelin Alvarado for the photo that accompanies this piece.
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