Results are in for elementary division in 2014 Territorial Science Fair


The official results are in for the 2014 Territorial Science Fair and Manumalo Baptist Academy has taken off with the most top honors, with 7th grader Aitulagi Wanda Lei Alofa placing first in the botany category and winning overall for the Level 6-8 Division.
Sixth grader Kutori Temese placed first in the zoology category with his project entitled: “What Unusual Events Caused an Acanthaster Planci Outbreak”, eighth grader Joelyn Rafil placed second in the Earth and Space category, while Titi Nofoagatoto’a, a 6th grader, placed second in the Physics category with his project entitled: “Can You Charge an Ipod with Fruit?” a project that garnered recognition and praise from Tim Jones, Chairman of the American Samoa Renewable Energy Committee.
Winning top honors in territorial competitions is nothing new for Manumalo, a private school in Malaeimi that was founded in 1975 with fewer than five students and has grown to what it is today, with an enrollment of over 600 students from different religious backgrounds and ethnicities.
When approached by Samoa News yesterday, Aitulagi, 12, talked about her winning project entitled: “Hydroponics vs. Soil”. The soft-spoken daughter of Papali’i Laulii and Wanda Ala Alofa said the goal of her project was to find out whether hydroponics or soil is the way to go.
She said her research and experiments determined that hydroponics is the better choice as there are “multi-advantages” that come with choosing hydroponics, as far as raising a variety of plants and the way it can hold up in certain climate conditions.
This was Aitulagi’s first year competing in the Territorial Science Fair and she just shined. “I just wanted a project that can benefit me in the future and inspire other Samoans to express interest in agriculture,” said the young scientist who says she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.
Outside of the classroom, Aitulagi says she likes to sing, and play the piano and ukulele. (Last month, she was chosen to sing the national anthem during the opening of the Samoa Bowl).
Her favorite subjects are math and science, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading and playing with her friends.
When asked who her biggest inspiration is, a modest Aitulagi paused for a second and said, “My dad”.
“I admire the way my dad was used by God to make nothing into something. He helped change a small school into one of the best on island and he has helped alot of people through his company, Paramount Builders.”
She continued, “I love the way my dad has been able to bring others to God.”
In the next classroom over, 6th grader Kutori Temese, 11, is busy fielding questions from his teacher. Kutori is the son of Semurana and Rosa Perez Temese.
His project about the Crown of Thorns starfish took first place in the zoology category of the Territorial Science Fair. Basically, Kutori wanted to know what human activities caused an Acanthaster Planci outbreak.
(Acanthaster Planci, better known as the Crown of Thorns starfish is a large, multiple-armed starfish or seastar — one of the largest in the world — that usually preys upon hard or stony coral polyps. The COT has been a nuisance in the territory with the National Park of American Samoa, the Dept. of Marine and Wildlife Resources, and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa collaborating to eradicate over 2,000 of them last year.)
Kutori said that based on his research, wastewater pollution caused by storms and the 2009 earthquake/tsunami contributed to the outbreak of the COT by combining nutrients and producing phytoplankton, which COT larvae feed on. Kutori pointed out that a female starfish can lay up to 60 million eggs at a time.
When asked what he wants to be in the future, Kutori said he aspires to be an NBA star, saying he loves to play basketball in addition to drawing pictures and taking part in science activities where he can “learn more about the environment”.
His biggest inspiration, he said, is Jesus. “He sacrificed everything for us,” Kutori said.
Unlike the high school science fair winners who get to showcase their projects off island, the elementary division projects are only presented locally, something that alot of people want to see changed.
With the Territorial Science Fair over and done with, Manumalo students are now getting ready for the next island wide event which is the Math Competition set to be held next month.
Samoa News sends out congratulations to all the students who participated in this year’s Territorial Science Fair — Elementary
Levels K-2 overall:
1st place: Vailala Smith (Leone Midkiff)
2nd place: Naomi Naiuli (Afonotele)
3rd place: Toetu Ah Poi (Lupelele)
Levels 3-5 overall:
1st place: Oliver Le’au (Marist St. Francis)
2nd place: Prince Von Dinklage (Matatula)
3rd place: Francis Vaofanua (Siliaga)
Levels: 6-8 overall:
1st place: Aitulagi Alofa (Manumalo Baptist Academy)
2nd place: Cher Nomura (Pacific Horizons)
3rd place: Gayathri Murali (South Pacific Academy)
(This is a “sponsored content” story by Manumalo Baptist Academy)


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