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Monmouth University today announced the winners of its third annual Stars Science Competition for middle school students.  Markham Place School in Little Silver won the first prize of $1,000, Holy Cross School of Rumson won second prize of $800, and Mother Teresa School in Atlantic Highlands won third prize of $600.

The Markham Place School team, led by Ms. Elizabeth Flynn, decided to find a solution to the frequent collisions in the hallways as students changed classes.  The team first tried signs but measurements indicated that wasn’t effective.  Then they tried arrows on the floor and also found that wasn’t effective.  They then experimented with various mirrors and assessed their effectiveness.  The effort showed a real-life approach to solving problems using science.  Students from Markham Place who participated include Tommy Greenwald, Laura Nagle, Willow Martin, Tierney Baldwin, Theo Cheevers, Kristen Soucheck, Henry Ehlers, Nick Karris and Louis Franco.

The Holy Cross School team, led by Ms. Michelle Tomaino, was concerned about wasted water in their school.  They examined the three sets of bathrooms, some old, some new, and found that if all the bathrooms used facilities that were as efficient as the new ones, then the school could save about $2,000 per year.  They then computed the economic benefit of upgrading all the facilities and found a three year payback.  Students participating from Holy Cross School include Brendan Durney, Holly Koerwer, Erin Mattone, Jillian McHugh, Olivia Farrington, Michelle O’Malley, Pierre Thormann, and Sebastian Buckley.

The team from Mother Teresa School, led by Ms. Jennifer Bader, chose to attack the problem of noisy classrooms in their school.  They experimented with three types of sound insulation around the windows and found that cotton batting was the most effective.  Students participating from Mother Teresa included Shane Dolan, Jason Korloff, Jakob Trinidad, Michael Rosa, Kevin Finucan, and Steven Allegretta.

An Honorable Mention team from Howell Middle School South has actually implemented their solution to the problem of wasted fruit in the lunch room.  The team, led by Ms. Danielle Gianelos, observed that much of the fruit that is required to be served in the school lunchroom was thrown away by the students.  Their solution was to give the waste fruit to the local SPCA.  The SPCA collects about 125 pounds of wasted fruit each Friday for their animals.  Student participating included Matthew Petersen, Ryan Leary, George Moran, Lorenzo Bedore, and Michael Palladino.

Members of the High Technology High School Experimental Research Group, assisted with the competition and presented their own award recognizing the team with the most potential for further research.  The Red Bank Charter School won this award for their plan to use a greenhouse to provide healthier food for their school cafeteria.  The High Tech High School students are wonderful role models for the middle school students.

Twenty-six teams from ten local schools competed.  The prize money will go to the teachers who led the winning teams and will be used to buy science equipment and supplies for the teachers’ classrooms.

Schools participating included Forrestdale School (Rumson), Holy Cross School (Rumson), Howell Middle School South, Markham Place School (Little Silver), Marlboro Middle School, Mother Teresa Regional School (Atlantic Highlands), Red Bank Charter School, W. R. Satz Middle School (Holmdel), Solomon Schechter Day School (Marlboro), and the Township of Ocean Intermediate School.

Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell, co-founder of The Stars Challenge, said: “Students love competitions and the opportunity to compete intellectually – to come up with a creative solution to a problem that exists in their school or community.  Students get to pick a problem and demonstrate their grasp of science and creativity as they develop a solution.”

Dr. Chappell added: “The Competition is about encouraging scientific creativity, and getting kids excited about science. It’s also about developing links between local science and technology companies and the classroom, and showing students how local firms are taking their innovations around the world.”

The Stars Science Competition is sponsored by Ericsson, Inc, which provided the prize fund, Monmouth University, which provided the venue and support, and The Stars Challenge, a science enrichment program for top middle school students.

For more information, please visit

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Media Contact:

Petra Ludwig, Monmouth University, 732-263-5507,

Krista Wald, Ericsson, 732-699-5050,

Margaret Ann Chappell, The Stars Challenge, 732-530-1061,