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Forty-three MMI Preparatory School students captured first place at a recent Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) regional competition held at Wilkes University and will advance to the 83rd annual PJAS state competition, which is set for May 14-16 at Penn State University’s University Park campus.

Two of the 43 students, Lois Ann Polashenski and Louis DeAngelo, topped the field in two categories and will compete at the state competition in both events. Nine students received a perfect score in their respective categories. The students are: Joshua Kalada-Kania (in zoology), Gabriella DeMelfi (math), Samuel Sessock (engineering), Nicholas Young (chemistry), Dustin Paul (chemistry), Connor Spencer (chemistry), Louis DeAngelo (computer science), Lois Ann Polashenski (computer science) and Lauren Freeman (biology).

PA Junior Academy of ScienceAdditional MMI first-place finishers were: Jonathan Smith, Lauren Babinetz, Gabriella Kupsho, Angelica Alday, Christine Park, Daniel DeMelfi, Mahum Ahmed, Coleman Smith, Brian Payne, Elizabeth Eckhart, Jakob Schwabe, Elizabeth Pinto, Rachel Betz, Abigail Paul, Morgan Long, Jessica McClellan, Kaitlyn McGeehan, Bailey Slusser, McKenna Gallagher, Alexandra Young, Ella Urosevich, Anna Cabell, Morgan Hosier, Jacqueline Snyder, Macy Zeiner, Alexander Sessock, Julia Snyder, Mahad Muhammad, Dana Carrato, Chava Kornblatt, Elizabeth Borchick, Zachary Young, Sydney Kohl and Nicholas Carrato.

Niklas Byriel placed second in two categories. MMI’s additional second-place finishers were: Katherine Lewandowski, Desiree Petrick, David Caldwell, Garrett Kost, Jessica McClellan, Andrew Decker, Noah Long, James Kelly, Jessica Smith, Wesley Guarneri, Ali Aijaz, Kisan Patel, Morgan Allen, Katharine Pinto, Benjamin Putnam, Coleman Smith, Elizabeth O'Donnell, Samantha Sparich, Erin Sari, John Malay and Megan Marchetti.

MMI’s third-place finishers were: Natalie Graham, Peter Walko and Kelisa Hysenbegasi.

Fourteen seniors received Perseverance Awards for participating in the PJAS competition for three or more years, five of whom participated for six years. MMI’s special award winners were: Gabriella DeMelfi (Advisory Board Award), Chava Kornblatt (Geisinger Medical College summer internship), Jonathan Smith (King’s College scholarship), Louis DeAngelo (Junior High Excellency Award in Engineering and Computer Science), Nicholas Young (Senior High Excellency Award in Chemistry), Lauren Freeman (Senior High Excellency Award in Biology), Lauren Babinetz (Senior High Excellency Award in Microbiology) and Joshua Kalada-Kania (Senior High Excellency Award in Zoology).

The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science and mathematics among its members through the development of research projects and investigations.

MMI competed in Region Two against other schools from throughout Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties.


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