Ninth-grade South Pasadena High student Raymond Gilmartin smiled so wide Tuesday night, you'd have thought the superintendent was handing him $25,000.
But he already won that, earlier this month, when his eighth-grade project earned first place at the national science fair for middle school students, the Broadcom MASTERS. Gilmartin was one of some 1,600 students who applied for the national honor. That group was whittled to 30 finalists, and Gilmartin was chosen earlier this month.
Weeks before Frankenstorm, the South Pay youth and his family were flown to Washington, D.C. where Gilmartin and his team, for part of their project, used popsicle sticks and clay to construct a building that could withstand hurricane-simulated winds (a leaf blower).
"He was using all these skills that he's learned in science and English and mathematics to apply to [this project],'' said South Pasadena Middle School science teacher Emily Hoffman.
Superintendent Joel Shapiro commended the teen, pointing out that Gilmartin represents what educators want from South Pasadena Unified School District students, "...the ability to be creative and the willingness to take a chance, and really put yourself out there.''