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updated: 3/11/2012 9:47 AM

Larkin varsity poms takes first-place trophy

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For the first time in the history of Larkin High School in Elgin, the school's varsity poms team has finished in the top three in a state competition.

That includes first place in the Class 3A open dance contest of the Team Dance Illinois State Championships held last weekend in Peoria.

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The team of 12 dancers participated in five events throughout the year to qualify for the state competition. In addition to a first-place trophy, the team also finished third in the lyrical contest.

Laura Newmeyer, a second-grade teacher at Timber Trails Elementary School in Hoffman Estates, has coached the team for the past three seasons.

"The girls have been practicing since the summer to get ready for the season as well as fulfilling their obligations with the Larkin (Dance) Academy and performing at halftime at football games and basketball games," Newmeyer said.

The varsity dance team from Bartlett High School also brought home two third-place finishes from Team Dance Illinois. The team earned third place in both the Class 4A hip-hop and open pom competitions.

Young chemists: The winners of the 2012 Elgin Area District U-46 "You Be the Chemist Challenge" were announced on Feb. 28 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin.

Middle school students from across the district competed in the challenge, which is the regional competition for the state chemistry contest. The top three finishers advanced to the state championships, which will be held on April 3 in Des Plaines.

All of the top three finishers in this year's challenge in U-46 were eighth-grade students from Tefft Middle School in Streamwood. They are: Trent Dela Riva who scored 31 out 46, plus five bonus points. Right behind Trent was Brittany Amawan, with a total of 30 out of 46, plus three bonus points and third place went to Andrew Douglas, who also scored 30 out of 46, but earned one bonus point.

Peggy Hernandez, the planetarium teacher in U-46, said there were plenty of cheering fans in the audience, especially from Kimball Middle School.

The event was sponsored by UOP in Des Plaines, a branch of Honeywell. Prizes included iPads, Kindle Fires and gift cards.

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