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Education Features

Things get X-STREAM at annual technology competition and expo


There were dinosaurs. There was color changing lemonade. And of course, there were battling robots. The eighth X-STREAM Games & Expo put on display the scientific knowledge, engineering skills, and artistic talents of area Catholic elementary school students. The games allowed students to compete in activities based in the STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum.

Parents, teachers and students watch the X-STREAM Games awards ceremony at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute on May 7. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

With robots competing in the gym and a science scrimmage happening in the commons of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute, students from St. John the Baptist in Alden pitched their inventions in the Shark Tank. Much like the popular TV show, students explain their inventions to a panel of judges, who question the students on the creative process and practicality of their product. This year only two teams competed, both from the same school. Roanan designed a booster seat to use on park benches. He used his younger brother, Connor, to demonstrate the effectiveness. Zoey, Gabriella and Bailey created a utensil washer that allows people to clean forks and knives without getting their hands wet.

Kitchen Chemistry welcomed a baker’s dozen of teams competing for several titles. The teams were tasked with creating a recipe that incorporated the theme of “Transformation” based on the wedding feast of Cana.

Blueberry scones were on the menu, along with applesauce, caramel cheesecake squares, wedding pancakes, and sweet and savory bourekas, a traditional Jewish dessert served at special occasions and may have been served at the wedding feast of Cana.

St. John the Baptist School in Alden AKA Heaven’s Kitchen made the only drink this year.

“We made transforming lemonade, just like how Jesus transformed water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana,” said Aiden.

“The lemonade is made with a chemical reaction, the blue liquid is cabbage water, which is a base. The lemon juice which is mixed in with it is an acid, which causes it to change color,” said Brooke. The room full of people watched as the lemonade turned from blue to pink. Coincidently, it was National Lemonade Day.

Kari Buchinger, deputy superintendent of Catholic Schools, and Kitchen Chemistry judge, said tasting the food was the fun part, but picking the best was really hard. “You all did such a fantastic job, we only took a bite of your treats up here, but we could have eaten them all day. They were so delicious. We may be coming to your school for some cooking lessons.”

In a new Public Speaking competition, students of all ages were allowed to speak on any topic they wished. A popular event, students spoke on wide ranging topics of cyber bullying, dinosaurs and school uniforms.

“There is no possible scenario in which this type of behavior should be normalized or accepted. No one has the right to make another person feel worthless,” said John, who offered some anti-bullying solutions. 

Lucas, a kindergartener from St. Andrew’s Country Day School in Kenmore. “I like dinosaurs,” he opened. “They stomp very loud and I like how they stomp very loud.”

Displays from each Catholic elementary school lined the halls of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute.  

Abhi and Joey, fifth graders from St. Benedict School in Eggertsville, showed off their Rube Goldberg machine that incorporated the Domino Effect and Newton’s Second Law of Motion.

“Newton’s Second Law is force equals mass times acceleration. So, everything is based on that,” explained Abhi to those who stopped by to examine the display.

“The Domino Effect is one thing that does something and another thing does another thing,” added Joey.

Goldberg was known for creating complex procedures to complete simple tasks. The assignment was simply to make a Rube Goldberg machine. Their machine took marbles and moved them from one side of a board to another using funnels, levers, helix coils, tubes and ramps. It was made from a National Geographic kit?

“I think the kids did amazing,” said Joseph Pawelczyk, a judge in Kitchen Chemistry this year, and Arcade Academy last year. “The kids in both years did amazing with what they did. It shows how much drive these kids have when you put them to work.”

Congratulations to all of our X-STREAM Games winners.

Public Speaking

  • Ian Reynolds, St. John the Baptist Kenmore – Reptiles
  • Maggie Rochford, St. John the Baptist Kenmore – Why students shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.
  • Jack Murphy, St. John the Baptist Kenmore – Extinction

Shark Tank

This year our Shark Tank competition was taken over by the creative minds at St. John the Baptist School in Alden. Congratulations to Roanan who took home the award for best invention; and Zoey, Gabriella and Bailey who won the award for best presentation.

Kitchen Chem

  • Best Transformation – St. Peter School
  • Tastiest Treat – St. Joseph University
  • Best Presentation – St. Gregory the Great School
  • Best Overall – St. John the Baptist Alden


Thank you to IDesign Solutions for the generous donations for the Robotics winners.

  • 1st Place DeSales and St. Peter School
  • 2nd Place DeSales and St. Mary’s Elementary School
  • 3rd Place Saint Andrews Country Day School and DeSales
  • Best Design St. Andrew’s Country Day School

Arcade Academy

  • 1st Place St. Gregory the Great School
  • 2nd Place St. Peter School
  • 3rd Place St. Peter School

Science Scrimmage

This year students took part in the Ping Pong Pick Up Challenges. They had to build a device to pick up a Ping Pong ball with the least amount of materials possible. Students could use paper, tape, string, and paperclips.

  • First Place – St. Gregory the Great 5th Graders
  • Second Place – St. Amelia’s School

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