Three 11th grade students from St. Anthony High School (SAHS) in Long Beach — Diana Palma, Thomas Mbadugha and Clarissa Tacto — were honored with awards at the L.A. County Science Fair on March 28 for their exceptional science projects. A total of nine talented SAHS students participated in the competition.

Palma, who earned the 2nd place prize in the Senior Chemistry Division for her project, titled “Polystyrene and its Effectiveness of Removing Calcium and Magnesium from Water,” created a filter using recycled plastic soda dividers and coffee cups to remove calcium and magnesium ions from water. She received a $50 cash award and qualified to participate in the California State Science Fair at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on May 18-19.

Mbadugha won the 2nd place award from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) with a $150 cash award for his project “Speed Rust.” He put nails made of different metals into water to study the chemical reaction of rusting.

Tacto received the Excellence in Vacuum or Surface Chemistry Award from the American Vacuum Society with a $100 cash prize for her project, titled “The Transference of Nicotine Through Drinking Glasses,” which showed how nicotine can be transferred from one person to another via contact with drinking glasses.

“It is such an exciting event for the students to showcase what they’ve learned at St. Anthony High School,” said Dr. Gian Grant, the students’ chemistry teacher. “They spent so much time on their research, and this event will allow their work to improve even more.”