By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – President Barack Obama's basketball skills might improve after meeting three eighth-graders from Hudson High School at the fourth White House Science Fair held May 27. Their project examined the science behind scoring the perfect basketball shot. It was one of 30 notable science projects from students nationwide.
Representing the team of seven young scientists known as “Catapult Court CEOs” were Daisjaugh “DJ” Bass, 13; Brooke Bohn, 14; and Gerry McMahon, 13. Based at the Argeo R. Cellucci Jr. Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest, the team placed second in last year's Science of Sports competition, sponsored by Raytheon and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.
During their three-day trip to Washington, D.C, they saw some national landmarks, met the first family's dogs, and took a selfie with Bill Nye the Science Guy. They also toured the White House and Brooke was impressed with the lavish décor.
“The chandeliers probably cost more than my house,” she said, reflecting on their visit.
They were unaware how special their White House visit would be until the moment Obama entered the State Dining Room full of reporters. The occasion was streamed live on the White House website. The local students demonstrated their catapult and the president caught the second of two shots.
When Obama asked if any of them would pursue a career as an engineer, DJ replied, “I want to go to college and play basketball.”
“How tall is your dad and your mom?” Obama asked.
“Not that tall,” DJ answered.
“Keep up with your science homework,” the president advised, adding, “We'se proud of you guys.”
The students returned home late that night and reported to school the following morning. Although, Gerry acknowledged he was a bit tardy.
“We had really long days there,” he recalled of their visit. “I needed to catch up on sleep.”
It was a first-time visit to the nation's capital for the students, as it was for Mike Rugg, the team's program director.
“Once they realize that math and science has taken them to the White House,” he said, “they'sl focus more on the subjects in their everyday life.”
The other teammates are Aayana Bass, 15; Marissa Cecca, 12; Colleen O”Malley, 12; and Leo Santos, 14.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-3rd District, congratulated the local students in a press release.
“These students are a glowing example of the innovation and STEM potential that abounds in our great state,” she stated. “We need to do everything we can to support and encourage them to help the next generation of ideas become reality.”