Santa Paula High GeoBowl team members show off their first place trophy at a lunch break. Pictured are (l-r): Nick Espinoza, Don Thomas (teacher), Felisha Avendańo, Edward Robles, Richard Medina, Jackie Parades, Amanda Reed, Betty Smith, Aerin Richardson, Megan Richardson and Albert Perez. Not pictured: Christina Cabral. Photo by Brian D. Wilson

SPHS GeoBowl team takes first place

November 29, 2002
Santa Paula High School
By Brian D. Wilson Santa Paula TimesThe Santa Paula High School GeoBowl team took the first place trophy last weekend at Oxnard College.The annual competition covers geography, physical science and current events. There were 24 teams taking part from nine Ventura County high schools. Oxnard High School placed second and St. Bonaventure claimed third place.“Mr. Thomas deserves all the credit,” said team member Edward Robles, referring to social science teacher Don Thomas. “He’s worked hard for a very long time, he’s a very smart guy and we owe it all to him.”The championship team was made up of Richard Medina, Amanda Reed, Aerin Richardson, Megan Richardson, Edward Robles and Betty Smith. Some of the team members were involved in athletics and only had a week to prepare for the competition. Thomas said because of the many activities that students were involved in, they didn’t train as intensely as they might have. “Because of things students learned in other programs, everything came together for us this year,” Thomas added. “So, the event was a very good opportunity for people to put knowledge gathered in science and other classes together.”
Santa Paula overcame tough competition from several larger schools, including Oxnard, Camarillo, St. Bonaventure and Rio Mesa. This was the first time Santa Paula has taken the first place trophy, although they have placed as a team four times and won individual trophies as well. This year Richard Medina took third place in individual results. He was only four percentage points from the top score in a field of 129 students.Thomas noted that the press is often quick to jump on Santa Paula High School because their API test scores are low. “I want everyone to remember that those are average numbers,” he said. “Sometimes the students who are still learning English have not yet developed the academic English language. It’s more difficult for them to score well on the various tests.” He adds that there are many students at the high school that are at the top of the average, who pull the bottom average up. SPHS was also represented at the competition by a team made up of Felicia Avendano, Christina Cabral, Nick Espinoza, Jackie Parades and Albert Perez.Santa Paula will hold on to the GeoBowl Perpetual Trophy on campus for the next year.

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