The mainstream media loves to write negative stories about public schools. Here is a story featured in local news but mostly ignored by the national media.

The Society for Science and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals selected 40 high school seniors as finalists in their national science competition. Eighteen hundred students applied. Each of the finalists wins a prize of $25,000. The top ten winners will receive between $40,000 and $250,000.

The finalists will take part in a week-long competition from March 9-16, where they will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. They will also interact with leading scientists and share their research during a virtual “Public Day” event on March 13.

Of the 40, nine went to elite private schools; three to charter schools; one was home-schooled. Twenty-seven are students in regular public schools. Seven are students at regular public high schools on Long Island in New York.

What is so impressive about the finalists is their topics, which display a remarkable range and depth of interests.

Here are a few project titles:

Project Title: Isolating and Characterizing Phosphorus-Solubilizing Bacteria from Rhizospheres of Native Plants Grown in Calcareous Soils and Sediments

Project Title: Evaluating Phragmites australis Wrack Accumulation in a Long Island Salt Marsh Ecosystem and Assessing Its Effect on Carbon Sequestration, the Nitrogen Cycle, and Sediment Biota

Project Title: Altered Development of Thymus in Tmem131Knockout Mouse Model of Down Syndrome

Project Title: Larvicidal “Trojan-Horse”: Experimentally Developing a Novel Low-Cost and Eco-Friendly Mosquito Vector Control Treatment

Project Title: Novel Fully MRI Compatible Nonmagnetic and Dielectric Pneumatic Servo Motor for MRI Guided Surgical Robotics

These are amazing students. Next time you hear a pundit ridiculing our schools and our teachers, think of these brilliant kids and their dedicated teachers. I feel better about our future after reading about them.