Way to go, Anthony!

Anthony Bass, a senior at Seminole Ridge Community High School, kicked some serious science essay butt when he won NASA’s interplanetary Cassini Scientist for a Day essay competition … for the second time! His sponsoring teacher, Erich Landstrom, sent me a letter that U.S. Congressman Thomas J. Rooney had written congratulating Bass:

Today, I wish to congratulate senior Anthony Bass III of Loxahatchee, FL on his first place win in the nation-wide National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s essay competition for the interplanetary Cassini Scientist for a Day. The contest is sponsored by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.

Anthony’s winning essay for Target 1: Saturn & Rings, Grade 9 to 12, explored the relationship between the composition of Saturn’s rings and their formation. Most impressively, the senior from Seminole Ridge Community High School is the first-ever essayist to win their contest twice.

In his 1987 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan said, “Our children should master the basic concepts of math and science, and let’s insist that students not leave high school until they have studied and understood the basic documents of our national heritage.” The President and Congress have re-affirmed our national heritage as a
frontier nation, with space exploration being that frontier. This is a challenge bold enough to last many lifetimes.

Cassini Scientist for a Day challenges students to become NASA scientists’ studying the planet Saturn through the robotic spacecraft Cassini. Students examine three target images taken by Cassini and choose the one they think will yield the best science, supporting their choice in a 500-word essay. Nearly 400 students from 19 states and Puerto Rico entered the Fall 2009 contest, but NASA researchers were impressed most-for the second year in a row-with Anthony’s entry. Such an extraordinary accomplishment is as far from basic mastery of math and science concepts, as Saturn is from Earth.

Here is an excerpt of his writing: “Saturn is well known for its complex ring structure, which has become a wonder of our solar system, and yet we still do not know where exactly these rings came from. We are being provided with an ideal opportunity to photograph Saturn’s rings right now during equinox…. We would need to look for clues in the composition of the main rings and compare this data to the composition of Saturn’s other moons, in order to help us determine if it is really possible that these rings started as a moon.”

I am proud to publicly recognize Anthony for his amazing demonstration of repeated excellence. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him, and to his parents and teachers.

In closing, I want to wish Anthony the best of luck this fall as he embarks upon the next phase of his education, pursuing degrees in both aerospace and astronautical engineering. The philosopher Plato observed, “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future.” Anthony, your future will take you to the stars!

Thomas J. Rooney
Member of Congress

Go read Anthony’s essay here.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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2 Responses to Way to go, Anthony!

  1. You can read Tony’s first award winning essay here

    I use the NASA contest as a teaching opportunity for my students to practice their FCAT Writes persuasive essay skills, and encourage excellence in FCAT Science. I hope this inspires other science teachers as well.

  2. Gold Boy says:

    I really don’t believe it. I hope Rooney is better for the world cup!

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