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NYC Schools Lead Nation in Westinghouse Science Finalists

January 26, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ New York’s Stuyvesant High School has again led the nation in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, after almost missing the contest when entries were misplaced by Federal Express last month.

Stuyvesant had 39 of the 303 semifinalists announced Thursday in the national contest and five finalists. New York City schools again did well, with 109 semifinalists and 14 of 40 finalists.

″We have extraordinarily gifted kids and we try to cater a program to their skills,″ said Stuyvesant principal Abraham Baumel. Hundreds of students work on projects and 161 from the school entered this year.

Federal Express mislaid 71 of the school’s entries, causing them to miss the filing deadline. But Westinghouse officials allowed them, saying it wasn’t the students’ fault.

″It’s marvelous - everyone is just thrilled that such a wonderful result did take place,″ said Baumel. He said it was not known how many of the semifinalists or finalists were from the late entries.

Bronx High School of Science also had five finalists, out of only 35 entries. It had 19 semifinalists.

The 40 finalists will compete for $140,000 in scholarships in Washington from March 1-5. The top prize is a $20,000 scholarship.

Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Technical High School attract the city’s best science students through competitive tests. Brooklyn Technical had two finalists. Midwood High School in Brooklyn and Van Buren High School in Queens had one apiece.

″It must be the water system,″ joked Charles Carroll, a spokesman for the search. By comparison, the entire states of California and Maryland landed four finalists apiece.

Among the finalists from Stuyvesant were Alexander Sragovich, 17, who studied the genetic alteration of antibodies; Esther Chen, 17, who investigated a gene that triggers cell multiplication; and James Chien-Hsun Liao, 18, who studied a genetic agent in bacteria.

Stuyvesant has had the largest number of National Merit Scholars of any single school in the country, 77, and set the record for Westinghouse semifinalists, 47, two years ago, Baumel said.

The school with the next-largest number of semifinalists was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., with 14.

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