Tartan Achievements: Science, Photography, Essay Writing and More!

St. Margaret’s students in all divisions are being recognized for their hard work, recently taking home awards in contests ranging from science experiments to yearbook photos to essay contests.
Here is a look at some recent Tartan honorees!
Plant the Moon/Plant Mars Challenge
A team of Middle School students and a team of Upper School students took part in a worldwide challenge to simulate the growing of crops away from Earth, and both teams received Best in Show recognition this week for their work.
The Upper School all-girls team for Plant Mars won “Most Innovative Experiment” for their work. The team conducted experiments in the student-run Upper School science club, attempting to measure the minimum amount of Earth soil necessary to grow crops along with simulated Mars regolith and operating under the assumption that some organic matter from Earth will have be transported to Mars for crops to grow.
In addition, the Upper School team experimented with microbial inoculants, a lighter weight fungi which helps plant growth. They also designed and 3D-printed self-watering pots, in the spirit of hypothetical Mars colonizers who would need to innovate and create as they build their own supplies on Mars.
In addition to the Upper School team’s honor, the Middle School team won “Best Experimental Design” for their work in testing different soil mixtures and watering amounts as part of the “Plant the Moon” challenge.
Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
St. Margaret’s junior Ella Etchandy won first place at the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) in the senior division of botany applications. In addition, the OCSEF also awarded Ella the David Walkington Memorial Award as well as the California Association of Professional Scientists Achievement Award. The recognition qualifies her for both the Outstanding Young Scientist Competition this fall, and she also moved on to the California State Science and Engineering Fair, where she placed third.
Ella’s experiment was titled “The Effects of 3 Biostimulants on CBC-5 Strawberries Plant Health Plant Growth Performance and Nutrient Uptake Through the Analysis of The Root Mechanism”
Also being recognized at OCSEF was grade 8 student Amber Lin, who received an honorable mention in the junior division of biochemistry/molecular biology.
Chemistry Competitions
Four Upper School sophomores—Rishabh Mallela, Tai Guo, Rain Xie and Sophie Bredall—participated in the local Chemistry Olympiad competition, ranking seventh out of 26 teams across Orange County.
In addition, eight freshmen and sophomores—Alex Kim, Tanner Harden, Abby Sun, Rianne Ke, Andrew Rusli, Ian Ekvall, Greta Blau and Jenny Cha—participated in the First Year Chemistry Competition hosted by OCACS, placing seventh out of 25 teams across Orange County.
San Juan Capistrano Preservation Day Essay Contest
Three St. Margaret’s grade 4 students took top honors in an essay contest in honor of San Juan Capistrano Preservation Day, hosted by the San Juan Capistrano Cultural Heritage Commission.
Madison Lino was the first-place winner in the competition, while Emily Ke and Holland Davis placed second and third. The three St. Margaret’s students made up the top-3 out of more than 35 submissions.
Jostens Photo Contest
St. Margaret’s sophomore Kaylynn Yang, a member of the yearbook team, received an honorable mention in the Jostens Photo Contest, being recognized among more than 4,000 entries.
Kaylynn’s photo will be featured in Jostens’ 2023 Look Book, which is shipped to all schools that use Jostens for yearbooks.
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
St. Margaret's Episcopal School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid, hiring and athletic policies or in other school-administered programs.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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