SM South students rank first, third place at statewide Eco-Meet competition

Kansas State Eco-Meet Final Competition 2018
Shawnee Mission South high school students who ranked first at this year’s Kansas State Eco-Meet Final Competition are, from left, Claire Elscott, Cheyenne Town, August Chowning and Harper Peck. Photo from Kansas State Eco-Meet’s website

For the second year in a row, Shawnee Mission South students have claimed the title of Kansas State Eco-Meet champions.

Two student teams from SM South placed in this year’s competition. One team earned first place and another earned third place among 93 students on 25 teams from 19 schools in the statewide competition Nov. 1 at Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City. The competition tests students’ knowledge on Kansas plants and animals.

The team that took first place included team members Claire Elscott, Cheyenne Town, August Chowning and Harper Peck. Each team member on team A received a $300 scholarship award.

The team that took third place included team members Alexia Hoover, Mason Fitzmaurice and Carley Leal. Each team member on team B received a $100 scholarship award.

Here’s a photo of team B:

Kansas State Eco-Meet Final Competition
Shawnee Mission South high school students who won third place at this year’s Kansas State Eco-Meet Final Competition are, from left, Alexia Hoover, Mason Fitzmaurice and Carley Leal. Photo from Kansas State Eco-Meet’s website

PJ Born, the SM South science teacher who coached students for the competition, said their success speaks to their growing and expansive knowledge of native life.

“I hope they learn a whole lot about Kansas plants and animals,” Born said. “I think that’s great to know what’s naturally around in the prairies and woods. It’s a great part of it, and just having the drive for the competition.”

SM South has been participating in Eco-Meet competitions for more than a decade, Born added.

“When you have success, you’ve got to really put in time and effort, and I think it’s the competition that allows the students to put in time and effort,” Born said. “It’s more than studying for the test in class; it’s studying for the test in class and going to a competition and competing against other students in the state.”

The two winning teams had also competed with a third SM South team at regionals in October. Those three teams had competed among 18 teams at eight high schools.