2 Lubbock middle school teams win national title at Army’s eCyberMission’s STEM competition

2 Lubbock middle school teams win national title at Army’s eCyberMission’s STEM competition
Two middle school teams from Southcrest Christian School have won the national title in the U.S. Army’s eCyberMission STEM Competition. (Source: KCBD Video)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Two middle school teams from Southcrest Christian School have won the national title in the U.S. Army’s eCyberMission STEM Competition.

The sixth and seventh-grade teams won this year. The seventh-grade team is a repeat national winner.

KCBD talked to Alexa Tindall, Josiah Morales, and Ethan Djajadi after they won the national title for the 2019 contest. On June 19, 2020, the trio, now in seventh grade, won the title for the second year in a row. Their 2020 project was called ‘Code Red.' The trio researched something that hit close to home for one of the students.

“Our project this year was about firefighters and the cancer they develop - the carcinogens released during the smoke or fire,” Morales said. “We decided to research this project because my dad is a firefighter. His friends just recently got cancer and we wanted to be able to prevent that.”

The group worked on projects and experiments with community partners; they even had mentors through Texas Tech University. The group was able to perform experiments in the university’s labs.

“The main thing was the fact that even though we are young, we are still being able to do these more advanced experiments in order to help people in the future,” Tindall said.

The team won and went on to represent the South-Central Region against five other seventh-grade teams from across the country. The national event, typically held in Washington D.C., was canceled due to COVID-19 and was held virtually.

Djajadi said he couldn’t contain his excitement when their team was announced as this year’s winners. “When they announced our name, I popped off.”

The sixth-grade team’s project was called Carbon Keepers. The group says they were inspired to do their research after watching a TED talk.

The team included Briley Siemens, Felipe de Farias, and Eliza Cole-Smith

“It (the TED talk) was talking about how farming could the solution to climate change. We knew that since our area is built upon farming, we want to include that,” said Siemens. “When we started researching and we found out other things that can make the soil healthier and keep the carbon into the soil. So, we started researching like additives and things such as wildfire and drought. And then we start researching pollutants as well.”

The group also teamed up with community partners and the group had mentors from Texas Tech University to help them conduct experiments.

Their findings were published into 12 different languages and the team reached out to 16 different countries.

Each one of the students received a $10,000 dollar savings bond. The seventh-grade team, Code Red, also gets bragging rights for winning the title two years in a row.

For more information on team Code Red’s project, you can visit their website, click here.

To read the Carbon Keeper’s project information, click here.

You can find more information on the U.S. Army’s eCyberMission website, click here.

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