by Cori Hilsgen
Seven St. John’s Prep students recently placed in the top 20 of a Drake University physics contest. These students are now eligible to apply for a full four-year scholarship to the Drake Physics and Astronomy Department.
Students who finished in the top 20 include Xiao Tan, third place, junior, daughter of Zhenyu Tan and Ye Chen of China; Seiyoung ‘Jason’ Yoon, fourth place, junior, son of Ji Ho Yoon and Yeong Rae Chang of South Korea; Marisa Gaetz, ninth place, junior, daughter of Rose and Rick Gaetz of St. Joseph; Sam Rogers, 11th place, junior, son of Sara and Joe Rogers of Avon; Nick Schaper, 15th place, senior, son of Rande Schaper and Jacqueline Provo of Rice; Yuhui Fang, 16th place, son of Guosheng Fang and Weng Li of China; Sarah Schrup, 19th place, senior, daughter of Myra and Thomas Schrup of St. Joseph.
Senior students Justin Fan from Guangzhou, China; Alex Larson from St. Cloud; Tom Skahen from St. Joseph; Jonas Wang from Beijing, China; Diego Castano from Samborondon, Ecuador; and Nycole Wenner from Cold Spring also placed in the top 50 of all seniors in the contest. These students are eligible to apply for a second four-year tuition scholarship.
Drake University, located in Iowa, organizes the contest each year for high school students in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. It takes the form of a two-hour, rigorous test written by the faculty of the Drake Physics and Astronomy Department.
Students are entered by their high-school physics or science teachers. First prize in the test is a full, four-year tuition scholarship to the physics and astronomy department. Another four-year tuition scholarship is also offered to a runner-up placing in the top 50 seniors.
SJP physics and astronomy teacher and Knowledge Bowl coach Charles Miller commented about the test.
“This year’s students are some of the best I’ve seen,” Miller said. “They are passionate about physics and its applications. They are bright and they have an amazing work ethic. It’s been a real treat being their teacher.”