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Cardozo takes second in city science match

But the most notable sound last Thursday afternoon came from Room B 29, where medals were slung around smiling students' necks, swaying and clanging against each other.The after-school club had just netted second place in the regional Science Olympiad competition, beating out 39 teams from public and private schools across the city and marking its best run in recent years."I think it's a very exciting accomplishment, because it's been a long time since Cardozo has done this well," said team captain and Cardozo senior Pang Jao.The Feb. 9 competition was held at Grover Cleveland HS in Ridgewood. There, contestants competed in a daylong marathon featuring an impressive 25 events, ranging from lab tests to physics demonstrations. One event - dubbed "The Wright Stuff" in typical campy scientists' humor - tested how long a team could keep a wood propeller plane flying and another tested technical writing. Stuyvestant HS placed first."Preparing is pretty hard," said physics teacher Marc Siega, who stressed that the competition was not your typical science project involving one experiment and the ubiquitous white poster board. "You prepare the whole year."The school won five of the events outright: environmental chemistry, chemistry lab, physics lab, oceanography and a lever competition.In the lever category, the school set a new record by besting the previous 500 percent efficiency mark (mass lifted compared to the mass of the lever) with a score in the 600 percent range.Siega was one of four teachers, including fellow physics teacher Peter Kaiteris and biology teacher Brigette Brady, who helped lead the team to victory. "We've had a lot of coaching power," Kaiteris said, adding that team captains were also very active in helping their junior classmates.Cardozo fielded two teams of 15.All are members of the Olympiad Club, which meets in the school basement after classes end.The state competition, which Cardozo will attend, will be held at the U.S. Military Academy on March 14, and a national competition will be held in April.Meanwhile, Cardozo's winners were beaming about their success. "We beat out not only public schools but a lot of private schools, some of whom didn't even come in the top ten," Kaiteris said.Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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