23 January 2006

La Salle pupils prove themselves to be boffins in the making at Young Scientists Awards


Smart cookies are highly commended

By Seán P. Feeny

Three students from La Salle Boys’ School have been highly commended for a project entered in the BT Ireland Young Scientists Awards.

It is the first time that students from La Salle have entered the competition, which was held at the RDS Arena in Dublin last week, and is a great achievement for the school.

Students Peter Carleton, Daniel Gallagher and Simon Hanna – all in Year 11 – and their Science teacher, Miss Deirdre Conway, travelled to Bundoran, Newcastle, Millisle and Portrush to collect and analyse three different types of seaweed and measure the level of radioactivity using a Geiger-Muller tube.

Their results have indicated that the level of radioactivity is much higher on the East coast further down from Sellafield compared to the West coast and the North.

Teacher, Deirdre Conway, is very proud of her students and the commendation they got for their work.

“The project will now be entered in the ENFO Young Environmenalist Awards in Dublin which are being held in May and then it will also be competing in the BA Crest Regional Awards, and that’s early June.

“If you win the regional finals you can go over to London and represent Northern Ireland.”

The group are very positive that they can do well.

Ms Conway said, “Fingers crossed, we’re hoping to do well, but we’re going to do some more analysis of the work that the boys have done and maybe collect more seaweed all along the East coast of Ireland to enhance our results and prove that the level of radioactivity is much higher there compared to the West coast.”

Peter Carleton was amazed by the sheer size of the Young Scientists Awards at the RDS.

“We were one of the 500 projects selected to be exhibited at the Awards, so we went down for the day with our teacher Miss Conway.
“It was amazing.

“I didn’t expect it to be that big and important. It was all-out madness. The best thing about the awards was the opening ceremony. There was a band playing called ZOO and a guy playing the drums with them. It was brilliant,” Peter said.

The group were also able to enjoy some of the hands-on entertainment provided at the event in the RDS Arena.

Being very brave and adventurous, Simon Hanna entered the Bush Tucker Trials, a competition inspired by ITV’s ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’.
“I entered to win a prize, which was a Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula.
“Although I didn’t win it was a fun experience.

“I also went to see the Robot Wars, which was very cool.

“It was just as good as the TV Show, maybe not as much destruction.”
Daniel Gallagher, the third member of the group, was also very proud of their achievement.

“It is great that we have done so well and the day down in Dublin was amazing.

“We are getting to travel a lot, which is brilliant.

“What I enjoyed most about being down there was the girls,” Daniel joked.
“There were girls there from all over Ireland.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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