Calling the event a high school version of “Jeopardy” would be an accurate description according to Pahrump Valley High School Math Teacher Jim Paxton.
Paxton and a handful of students competed in last weekend’s Nevada Science Bowl regional competition in Las Vegas where local students went head-to-head with other high school students from around the Silver State.
The event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.
Paxton said Pahrump students competed against 32 teams to determine which school will represent Nevada in the high school national finals this spring.
Pahrump’s team came up a bit short this year.
“Unfortunately, our team lost their first three games at this year’s competition and were then eliminated,” he said. “We had a great time though.”
The five-member team from Northwest Career and Technical Academy topped Reno High School in the championship match at Las Vegas’ Public Broadcasting Station studios.
The academy received an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the National Science Bowl in late April.
Paxton reflected on Pahrump’s involvement in the event for more than two decades of competing.
He noted that it was his wife, a former Pahrump Valley High School instructor, who initiated the school’s involvement.
“Each team consists of five players chosen by the Science Club that meets on a weekly basis,” he said. “The first person to ring in gets a chance to answer the question. It’s a quiz competition, but it’s all science based. We have been going every year for, I believe, 15 years. Anyone from the ninth grade through the 12th are eligible. On this particular team, I had four seniors and one junior.”
Paxton said aside from the regular classroom assignments, the team routinely practices regularly in the days leading up to the competition.
He noted Pahrump students did a great job last year, but also came up a little short.
“Last year we won two games and lost three so we were eliminated,” he recalled. “That placed us in the middle of the pack and we tied for 17th place out of 32 teams.”
This year’s team consisted of four seniors, Hannah Mason, Sarah Robbins, David Hall, Ubaldo Alvarado and junior Alyna Anderson.