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Chamlian students advance to state competition

Five Chamlian Armenian School students have advanced to the State Science Fair after earning top honors at the county-level competition, school officials announced.

Hagop Margossian, Talar Kassabian, Leona Abrahamian, Mathew Hartounian and Vahe Yacoubian will be among the 900 middle and high school students competing at the 61st annual California State Science Fair, a two-day event which kicks off Monday at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

“It is quite an achievement,” said Lida Gevorkian, science fair coordinator, of the school’s showing. “I am impressed, and I am proud.”

The five were among 11 Chamlian students who competed April 16 at the Los Angeles County Science Fair at the Pasadena Convention Center.


Participating students are tasked with designing an experimentall research project that exemplifies scientific methodology. The 22 categories include animal biology, chemistry, environmental management and plant physiology, among others.

All projects must be presented to judges using visuals and props that meet guidelines outlined in the competition rules.

At the state level, students are competing for $50,000 in cash prizes. Projects are judged by a volunteer pool of 300 judges, and awards are given for the top four winners in each category.

Talar’s project studied the effect of oxygen on aging by incrementally increasing the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the food supply for a test group of fruit flies. She has already started reviewing her research in preparation for next week.


“It felt really good,” Talar, 13, said of advancing to the state competition. “It felt like I had accomplished something. My parents were proud, too.”

Twelve-year-old Vahe’s experiment quantifies the benefits on physical activity on an individual’s overall health.

“I hoped it would show how important exercise is,” Vahe said. “I am very excited, and I am privileged and honored to represent Chamlian Armenian School and the city of Glendale at the State Science Fair.”

The science fair has long been integrated into traditional course work at Chamlian Armenian School, Gevorkian said. All seventh- and eighth-graders are required to participate in the school’s internal science fair. There are two rounds of judging, and the school chooses about a dozen projects to send on to the county competition.

Schools rarely have as many as five students continue on to the state competition, but Gevorkian said it was not unheard of at Chamlian. In 2007, the school sent five students to the final round.

“There is a lot of work involved, but the result is very rewarding,” Gevorkian said.