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Class Act: SFU puts on science workshops during teachers' strike

Science alive Local elementary school-aged kids can still get in a little science learning next week despite the ongoing teachers’ strike.
SFU science workshop, Sophie Lavieri
SFU chemistry professor Sophie Lavieri gets kids excited about science at a free SFU Science in Action workshop at the university's Burnaby campus. The workshops continue next week.

Science alive

Local elementary school-aged kids can still get in a little science learning next week despite the ongoing teachers’ strike.

SFU is hosting three free Science in Action workshops led by Sophie Lavieri, an SFU chemistry professor well known for bringing science education to children and youth.

“The interest in these camps has been fantastic,” Faculty of Science communications officer Diane Mar-Nicolle told the NOW. “Dr. Lavieri came up with the idea (last) Thursday afternoon and, by Friday, we released the information and schedule to the public. The workshops for this week are almost at full capacity.”

The sessions – held in the Trottier Studio for Innovative Science Education at the university’s Burnaby campus – include hands-on science experiments, activities, games and even ice-cream making.

The next session for Grade 2 to 3 students runs Monday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Grade 4 to 5 students go Wednesday from 9:30 to 11 a.m., and Grade 6 to 7 students go Friday from  10 to 11 a.m.

The workshops may continue if teachers stay on strike.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and kids should bring a lunch.

To register or find our more, email science_out

Math whizzes

Grade 7 math wizards at Burnaby’s Marlborough Elementary School crushed a national math contest this spring before moving on to high school this year.

Six students at the school earned perfect scores on the test, put on every May by the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

Michelle Liu, Gavin Song, Rishi Saran Vijayarajan, Roya Yang, Josh Zhang and Sophia Zhao all aced the exam with 150 points, compared to a contest average of 103.3.

Josh Chen of Morley Elementary, Judy Lee of University Highlands Elementary, Andy Qin of Sager Education and Sean Wang of Moscrop Secondary also put up perfect scores in the Grade 7 category of the contest.

Cecilia Cheng of Burnaby South Secondary and Andrew Lieu of Burnaby North Secondary aced the Grade 8 test, where the average was 106.2.

Almost 79,000 Grade 7 and 8 Canadian and international students entered the contest this year.

Outstanding volunteer

A young Burnaby volunteer who has given more than 700 volunteer hours to community clubs has earned a $60,000 SFU Schulich Leader Scholarship.

Nancy Lum, a first year science student at the university, was recognized for leading several Burnaby clubs, including Karing 4 Kids and Christmas Cheer, both of which raise funds for local charities, like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Burnaby’s Christmas Bureau.

Lum became an executive and eventually chairperson and co-chairperson of the clubs.

Her efforts, together with fellow executives, raised a total of $32,000 for the two charities.

“I was transformed by volunteering,” Lum said in an SFU press release, “and I hope to continue as a student at SFU.”

Recipients of the Schulich Leader Scholarship, for students in science, technology or mathematics, receive their $60,000 award in eight instalments over four years.

They must demonstrate two of three attributes: academic excellence, social and/or business leadership and financial need.

Top student

A Burnaby teen has an extra $2,000 to pursue a medical education thanks to a LifeLabs scholarship.

Aaron Reyes, who lives in Burnaby but graduated from Vancouver College this spring, won the award based on his grades, leadership abilities, extracurricular activities and a “very well-written” essay, according to a press release from the community laboratory services provider.

Reyes is an athlete (playing lacrosse and ball hockey), a musician who has been part of the school’s band since Grade 7, and a community leader involved in planning and running his school’s Grade 12 retreat.

During his academic career, Reyes maintained a 91 per cent average, placing him in the top 20 per cent of all students at his school.

An avid volunteer, Reyes has also contributed time to two Lower Mainland seniors homes and volunteered with his church’s Door is Open program, which provides assistance to disadvantaged people in downtown Vancouver.  

An aspiring doctor, Reyes plans to attend UBC’s nursing program this fall.

Do you have an item for Class Act? Send news from Burnaby schools to Cornelia Naylor,, or find her on Twitter, @CorNaylor.