by: Leland Kim
MILILANI (KHNL) - Like many kids, Philip and Lucia Mocz love video games. But they also have a passion to find a cure for cancer, enough to create a project that could detect cancerous tissues.
"All we need is a tissue sample that is stained and a digital picture of that can be inputted into the computer and the computer can decide whether or not it's cancerous," said Philip Mocz, a junior at Mililani High School.
This project could potentially help doctors detect cancer early, which could mean more lives saved. It impressed the judges at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. They awarded Philip and Lucia first prize in the western region.
"My initial reaction was, 'Oh, my God!' I really did scream," said Lucia Mocz, a sophomore at Mililani High School.
The next and final stop is the national competition in New York City, where the grand prize is $100,000 in scholarship money.
"I don't believe we're even capable of getting such a thing. That's a bit extreme," said Lucia Mocz.
Mililani High School beams with pride.
"It might have surprised me a year ago, but when I looked at their projects which were statewide winners last year, nothing would surprise me," said Dr. John Brummel, the school principal.
In the next month, Philip and Lucia are planning to fine tune their project.
"We're going to improve our board design and improve our PowerPoint to make it more competitive," said Philip Mocz.
The siblings have some words of wisdom to pass on.
"My number one advice for young kids is to pursue what they like. Do not go with the crowd who says I do not like these things because they're hard," said Lucia Mocz.
Philip hopes to continue his love of science after he graduates from high school.
"My future goal is to become an astrophysicist," he said.