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Final Answer?

Matt Simon

people1.jpgIt was January 2005, and the Hawaii state finals of the Science Bowl high school quiz competition had reached the last round.


NEA-Retired member Ed Ginoza watched tensely as the five-member team he coached, from Maui High School, attempted to wrest the state title from the defending champions of Iolani School.

The final question was asked.

“I didn’t know the answer,” Ginoza laughs. “Fortunately, the kids did, and we won the title.”

Ginoza taught science at Maui High for 31 years. Since his retirement in 2000, he has volunteered to coach the Science Bowl team. With his coaching, Maui has won three of four state Science Bowl titles.

“They don’t win because of me,” he says. “It’s the kids. They study on their own time. The work they put in is unbelievable.” In 2005, the Maui team placed seventh in the national Science Bowl finals.

Ginoza meets his team members twice a week during lunch. Typically, each member specializes in one branch of science. “The level of mastery these students attain is remarkable,” says Ginoza.

“The questions require college-level scholarship. Former students from my teams are now at Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. Two have been Presidential Scholars.”

“I get to know them much better than I ever could in a class,” he says. “I’ve made some lasting friendships. One who became a Presidential Scholar cited me as his ‘most influential teacher.’ I can’t tell you how moved I was.”



Man of Iron

NEA-Retired member Rudy Lozano has collected more than 100 trophies and medals as an amateur power lifter—the vast majority after his 50th birthday.

 For five straight years, the former Orange, California math teacher has set bench press records for his age group. And he thought he’d given the sport up in his 20s.

“I was 115 pounds when I graduated from high school,” says Lozano. “I took up weight-lifting to build muscle, and in my 20s I became active in power lifting. But it was time to start a career, so I stopped.” Then 12 years ago, while still teaching, he returned to the weight room.

“If your doctor says it’s safe for you to exercise, you can get into the best shape of your life after 60,” he says. “I am. But not many years ago I was badly out of shape. It took me six months of light exercise to get ready to start lifting again.”

Before he retired, Lozano encouraged his students to pursue weight training drug-free. “Fitness training lengthens your life—unless you use steroids,” he says. “Steroids create life-threatening conditions. Drug-free is the only way to go. Every day I spend at the gym, I lengthen my life by a day. I tell my wife I can probably compete until I’m 90.”

Now 66, Lozano will attempt to break 400 pounds on the bench press in competition. Will he do it? “At my last practice, I did two presses in the high 300s. Then I had my training partner add a lot more weight, to well over 400 pounds. I smoked it!”

That’s power-lifting lingo for—well, for “smoked it!”

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