Scottsdale high school science team raising money to go to nationals


You want your kids to participate in activities outside the classroom, but those those activities cost money. Academic clubs are no different – even ones that are preparing them for high-paying text jobs down the road.

“Things get really really stressful, and each day is about three to four hours of Science Olympiad, and that’s every day maybe two weeks before the competition,” said senior Naveen Dasari. The hard work paid off; Dasari and his classmates at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale will finally go to the Science Olympiad state championship, where they will compete in different science events and take tests.

“I used to dream about the speech I would give to my team after we won first place,” Dasari said. “I’d recite it in the shower for the past three or four years.”

His chances at getting a job at home aren’t far-fetched; a 2012 study from My College Options and STEMconnector shows Arizona will have 166,000 jobs in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – by 2018.

“I see tons of potential in the students we have to fulfill those jobs, so we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to encourage them to grow in all those areas,” said math teacher and club mentor Joshua Pantier. He is helping spread the word about their fundraising efforts.

He also said students need support from both districts and families to promote an interest in STEM areas.

“Although kids will take classes in science and math, there’s not a whole lot of other time built in the school day for kids to pursue things independently that they may be interested in,” Pantier said.

“[The club] has allowed me to transition from when I was a freshman, being really shy and quiet to be a senior, little bit more outspoken, little bit more extroverted,” Dasari said.

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