Genentech’s Helix Cup Finals for SSFUSD Middle Schoolers Excites Future Scientists

South San Francisco, CA   May 4, 2017  by Mel Ellison

With cheers, more reminiscent of a sporting event then a science competition, teams from three South San Francisco Unified School District middle schools participated in the finals for the Helix Cup at Genentech Tuesday afternoon.



Genentech is investing heavily in the future of our nascent young scientists, starting with this yearly competition that began three years ago and is culminating with the building of a soon-to-be-completed 18-million-dollar facility called Science Garage located on the Genentech Campus. All of this under the aegis of Futurelab, Genentech’s award-winning partnership with South City schools aimed at getting our students more engaged in science and better prepared for the dynamic career opportunities available to them locally.


Futurelab is a hyper-local STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering, Math) education initiative that supports all K-12 students in the South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) and gets them excited about science, improves their college readiness and inspires them to pursue careers in STEM fields.


Kristin Campbell Reed, Genentech Director of Corporate and Employee Giving had  this to say about this year’s Helix Cup:

“All the middle schools in South San Francisco participated, every eighth grader started with two challenges in their classrooms, then the best teams from each class went to a semifinal, and then the top three teams from each school are here today. 170 teams started, the top nine teams are here today, only one will take home the grand prize”




When the winning team from Westborough Middle School was finally announced amid confetti falling from the rafters and the cheers from the crowd, the competition that began in January among all SSF middle school 8th graders, reached its final denouement. Although a winner had to be chosen, as I watched it was very clear to me that each and every one of these talented students is a winner.


Kristin Campbell Reed, Genentech Director of Corporate and Employee Giving



As an interested observer, it was very heartening to witness such bright, energetic, highly motivated……yet fun loving and slightly mischievous…..young people take on this challenge with such gusto and enthusiasm. With so much negativity reported in our news media every day, it’s very reassuring to know there are young people ready to take on the challenges that the future will bring and a company with the resources of Genentech stepping up to that challenge, investing both financially, and personally in the form of their dedicated, hardworking volunteers.




To learn more about Genentech’s programs for our students of South San Francisco Unified School District  CLICK HERE






Mel Ellison is a free-lance writer and photographer who covers special features for Everything South City as well as taking the role of co-admin on our social media. Married to Lynn Brunetti, they enjoy family time with their grandchildren and enjoying their Brentwood neighborhood in South San Francisco. When not dazzling us with his photography you will find Mel on the open seas pursuing his love of sailing.

To view more of Mel’s photography and travels follow him on FACEBOOK HERE To see a partial collection of photos taken for Everything South City CLICK HERE  If you are interested in purchasing any of Mel’s fine art, please CLICK HERE


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