The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, representing leading oceanographic institutions, universities and aquaria, oversees a national academic competition for high schools on topics related to the study of the oceans. The NOSB is a nationally recognized high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics and geology. Created a decade ago in recognition of the International Year of the Ocean, the NOSB competition has grown since its inception to include 25 regional competition locations with 300 schools and more than 2,000 students participating annually.
The La Jolla A team, consisting of James Giammona, Ciara Kamahele-Sanfratello, Umi Hoshijima, Shumpei Maruyama and Sam Reineman, recently won its bracket and scored the most points overall in both round-robin brackets.
Coming from behind, the A team regained the lead, beating the Dana Hills high school team two times in a row to win the local “Surf Bowl” competition at Birch Aquarium.
The La Jolla B team, consisting of Anna DeGooyer, Ian Fong, Varun Rau, Leslie Timms and Tim Trahan, also scored the most points in its bracket but was unable to advance due to competition rules preventing two teams from one school moving on.
According to the team’s coach and marine science class teacher David James, the Surf Bowl is both fun and educational for all the students involved.
“They (students) get to go on a lot of field trips at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), where they see firsthand what marine scientists do on a daily basis,” James commented. “In addition, they meet students who share the same interest and love of the ocean.”
According to James, the goal of the competition is to learn as much as possible about the marine sciences.
“The students do this through a lot of studying at home,” James continued. “We also meet several times a week at 6:30 a.m. to study and practice buzzing. The students have benefited by learning an amazing amount of knowledge. I think the biggest benefit is that they learn how to work well as a team and believe in themselves.”
While winning the title next month in D.C. is the goal for the La Jolla High students, James said there is a bigger lesson involved.
“They are fully committed to the challenge,” James said. “What really matters is that they give their best effort. I am very proud of what they have learned and accomplished.”
Kamahele-Sanfratello said that NOSB has taught her the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship.
“From this year’s regional competition specifically, I have learned that if a team has confidence they can persevere, even with all odds stacked against them. NOSB has also taught me the importance of spreading stewardship of the world’s oceans and educating people about them,” Kamahele-Sanfratello said.
Maruyama said one of the things learned is that even if it seems like all is over and hopeless, there is always a chance to make a vital comeback by relaxing, renewing one’s focus and reminding oneself of the hard work it took to get there.
“I love the competition because it allows high school students like me to meet other students who are as passionate about the ocean sciences as you are,” Maruyama commented. “It also motivates me to study and learn things that I wouldn’t have learned in any other high school class.”
Hoshijima noted that the competition has served as a lesson in the dedication needed to succeed in life.
“My hard work has paid off, and I hope this will aid me in future endeavors,” Hoshijima remarked. “I like NOSB because of the people I meet through it. I have become friends with several people from other schools and am looking forward to doing the same at the national competition.”
As Giammona sees it, the best thing about NOSB is the atmosphere of scientific excellence.
“One is surrounded by people that love the ocean and are passionate and dedicated to its study,” Giammona added.
For students who may be interested in getting involved with the NOSB at La Jolla High, James notes that the first step is to attend one of the team’s meetings.
“What really hooks the kids is going on the field trips to SIO,” James said. “Hands-on experiences are the most educational way to learn about marine science and really help the students relate to both what marine science is all about and what scientists actually do.”