Archive for the ‘ Clubs ’ Category

Envirothon Takes First!

By Amanda Bertsch
On the weekend of April 1st, 60 Arizona high school students gathered at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center. The students were there to participate in the Arizona Envirothon competition, an ecology challenge.
The Envirothon competition has four areas of testing. In aquatic ecology, students test water samples and answer questions about water conservation concepts. In soils and land use, students test soils for texture, chemical content, and color, and use land use booklets to determine best land management practices. In forestry, students use National Park Service equipment to identify trees and determine uses for various types of lumber, and in wildlife, students identify pelts, skulls, photos, and habitat ranges for species.
Each year also has a special topic. This year the competition centered around sustainable agriculture and land use, meaning that the students had two hours to prepare a presentation on the management of a hypothetical farm with a host of issues. They synthesized a thick packet of information into a 10-minute presentation.
Ten Tri-City Prep students participated in this year’s competition, forming two teams. Amanda Bertsch captained a team of Kaleb Lyonnais, Kim Zamora-Delgado, Brianna D’Angelo, and Ethan Krafft, while Tieran Rashid captained a team of Audrey Guess, Julia Goswick, Deven Kohler, and Natalie D’Angelo.
“It truly felt like a team and professional experience,” Tieran Rashid said, adding “we had a lot of fun.”
Bertsch’s team took home 1st in aquatic ecology, 1st in forestry, 2nd in wildlife, and 3rd in soils and land use. They also won the first place overall, meaning they will represent Arizona in the North American Envirothon competition in Baltimore this summer. This is the second time Tri-City has won the top award but the first time the school will be attending the North American competition.


TCP’s Best-Kept Secret

By Amanda Bertsch

envirothon students

TCP’s Envirothon students show off their plaques.

What do eating bad lasagna, playing with soil, and hiking with rattlesnakes have in common? This Friday and Saturday, 60 Arizona high school students found out.

Envirothon is a North American (US and Canada) ecology competition. Students in teams of five complete written and practical tests in soils and land use, aquatics, and wildlife/forestry. They also have two hours to prepare a solution to a problem based around the year’s topic (this year, invasive species), which is presented to a panel of judges.

Envirothon has often been called Tri-City’s best-kept secret, and not without cause. Many balk at the idea of doing tests and public speaking on a weekend (not to mention getting up early), but Envirothon has an extremely high returning student rate for a reason. The competition is both fun and fast-paced, with plenty of opportunities to just enjoy the outdoors. Continue reading

Pi Day at TCP

By Amanda Bertsch


Today was International Pi Day, and so of course Tri-City got in on the celebration. The day was a series of activities and contests hosted by the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta. While Pi Day is always March 14th (3/14, symbolizing the first three digits of pi), it usually falls over TCP’s Spring Break. However, this year the dates aligned and the school was able to celebrate on the correct day.

The irrational constant pi represents the relationship between the circumference of a circle and its diameter; humans have been attempting to measure this relationship for at least 3,500 years. The Babylonians believed pi was about 3.125, while ancient Egyptians measured it at 3.16 and the Bible mentions the relationship as approximately 3. The ancient Greek Archimedes was the first to come close to the actual value, estimating it as somewhere between 3.1408 and 3.14285 (the actual value is 3.14159265…). Continue reading

Comedy has Come to Campus

By Amanda Bertsch

A circle of students sit on the floor of the auditorium, eyes closed. Together, they count up to twenty, trying to sense when another person is about to speak. “Slowly,” someone cautions. This isn’t some kind of cult meeting. It’s the newest club on campus, and it’s already changing the way students think about comedy.

Last semester, improv comedy performer Alex Backes came to give the drama class a week of lessons. In improv comedy, performers work together to create comedic skits on the spot. Warmups, such as the counting game described above, are used to develop skills and also get in the mood for comedy after a stressful day.

Junior Lizzy Rizk was a TA when the drama class was doing improv, and she jumped in to join the lessons. She later described this experience as the inspiration for the club.

“I performed with them, and I had so much fun doing it, and it made me want to continue doing improv,” she said. “It just all kind of snowballed from there.”

Continue reading

Envirothon: Envisioning a Better Ecosystem

By Amanda Bertsch

On the morning of Thursday, March 26th, ten students piled in to a van for the annual Envirothon competition accompanied by Mr. Bytes and Mrs. Muchna. The competition takes place over a Friday and Saturday, so the students camped in Tucson.

Envirothon is an ecology competition with two parts, ecostations and presentations. There are three ecostations, and each one has a written and practical test on a different subject: aquatics, soil, and wildlife/forestry.  The presentation is on a different focus topic each year, and teams have two hours to prepare a ten-minute, symposium-like report.

This year’s focus was urban forestry, or the vegetation inside a city (public and private). The teams were asked to put together a plan to redesign a ten-acre park plot over several years, taking into account biodiversity, community considerations, and the currently planted trees. After a presentation in front of judges, they underwent ten minutes of questions on their plan.

Tri-City entered two teams of five students each this year, and they both did extremely well. The team lead by Erin Pflueger won first place at the aquatics ecostation and second place at the wildlife/forestry ecostation. The team led by Olin Marman placed third overall, winning $50 gift certificates to Bass Pro.

Both teams were pleased with the results. Tri-City will return to the competition next year, with several second or third-year students. The students and teachers alike are certain that next year the school will be more competitive than ever.

If you’re interested in joining Envirothon next year, please talk to Mrs. Muchna for more information.