The Village School’s “B” Team wins the 2013 Dolphin Challenge

February 25, 2013

By Jim Hiney

GALVESTON, Texas — The Village School “B” Team got the best of its “A” Team compatriots to win the 2013 Dolphin Challenge Regional Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) and advance to the National Finals Competition.

The team of Alexander Kiehn, Brian Xu, Michael Wong, Alexander Pastora and Tony Sun emerged at the top of the 14-team field after a day of head-to-head matches where the high school students demonstrated their knowledge of marine and coastal science by answering questions from biology, physics, chemistry, geology, geography, mathematics and the social sciences. They defeated The Village School “A” team in a tight final match, earning the right to face the winners of the other 24 NOSB regional competitions in Milwaukee April 18-21. The Village School is a private school located in west Houston’s “Energy Corridor.”

The Dolphin Challenge, hosted by the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, was held at Ball High School

As the runner-up, the The Village School “A” team of Andrei Bonteanu, Thanh Hong, Thuy Liem, Anirudh Pillutla and Minh Nguyen is an alternate for the NOSB National Finals if the “B” cannot compete. Third place went to Sanger High School’s “A” Team of Carlos Valls, Cullen Bounds, Mary Katherine Kearney, Andrew Bradley and Bethany Mitchell.

Pearland’s Glenda Dawson High School was honored with the Ralph Rayburn Sportsmanship Award, which is given to the team judged by competition officials to best embody the spirit of earnest competition while demonstrating exemplary decorum and character. The award is named in honor of host Texas Sea Grant’s late Associate Director and Extension Program Leader, who worked tirelessly throughout his career to help promote the wise use and stewardship of Texas’ marine resources. Rayburn’s work ethic was legendary and he was widely respected as a man of great integrity, intelligence and generosity.

The rest of the Dolphin Challenge field comprised Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Coppell High School “A” and “B” Teams; Langham Creek “A,” “B” and “C” Teams from Houston; New Caney High School; Rains High School from Emory, Texas; and Sanger High School “B” and “C” Teams.

NOSB is intended to increase knowledge of the oceans on the part of high school students, their teachers and parents, and to raise the visibility and public understanding of the national investment in ocean-related research, said Terrie Looney, regional coordinator for NOSB competitions in Texas.

There are two NOSB regional competitions held in Texas each year and both are hosted by Texas Sea Grant. The Dolphin Challenge, held in Galveston, is open to high schools from north and east Texas. The Loggerhead Challenge, held in the Coastal Bend area, is open to high schools from south and west. Annapolis Christian Academy from Corpus Christi won this year’s Loggerhead Challenge, held Feb. 9 at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

NOSB is managed nationally by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a nonprofit organization representing 94 of the leading public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy.

Based on the Land Grant concept, Texas Sea Grant is a partnership of university, government and industry focusing on marine research, education and outreach. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 32 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. The program’s mission is to develop a better understanding of Texas coastal resources in support of sustainable use and conservation of these resources for the benefit of the economy and environment.


The Village School B Team - Champions. (Photo by Jim Hiney)

The Village School A Team - Runner-up. (Photo by Jim Hiney)

Sanger High School A Team - third place. (Photo by Jim Hiney)

Glenda Dawson High School - RR Sportsmanship Award. (Photo by Jim Hiney)


Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.