Science Olympiad shines at state tourney

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Science Olympiad; an intense competition in which the brilliant young minds of today’s generation compete in contests of intelligence and creativity of epic proportions. An event that started as just a meeting of science teachers has grown into one of the nation’s finest and most well-known science championships. And this year, LB’s team has once again made it to the state competition and finished within the top 10.

Science Olympiad first began when Dr. Gerald J. Putz and John C. Cairns came together in order to share the Science Olympiad program with Macomb County educators on March 29, 1982.

The Science Olympiad competition is a contest meant for all grades, with the elementary level being more of a tournament or a science-based school day. The high school level, on the other hand, more closely resembles a high school sports team. Non-stop commitment to the team is required.

“As a team we compete in about 15 knowledge and building events,” senior and former president of science olympiad Lauren Schwartz said. “Each event has two to three people who compete. The topics range from biology to engineering. Each event has a captain that runs the meetings and study times for the event. Most meet several times a month to learn new information.”

Thanks to an immense amount of effort put into the season, the team placed within the top 10 at states, something not unfamiliar to LB’s members.

“We got fifth place, which is a little on the low side for us but still fairly normal,” senior and chief engineer Matt Sandfry said. “Throughout the day everything went relatively smoothly despite everyone being so busy.”

 

The Science Olympiad process begins, for most students, with a mandatory interest meeting near the beginning of the school year. Many choose Science Olympiad because it is their passion, while another portion of the students join as a more fun and viable option compared to the labor-intensive science fair.

Once students are enrolled in Science Olympiad, they are divided into teams in order to build team spirit and a hunger for victory.

Teams participating in science olympiad are allowed to bring a team of no more than 15 students.

The various competitions that take place in science olympiad include genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology.

“There are three different kinds of events: knowledge, process, and building,” Richard said. “Generally you’ll have three events and they can range from a process event like Experimental Design to a knowledge even like Forensics.”

After the contestants were sorted into their respective categories at the competition, they were judged.

“At the tournaments, some events are a test,” Richard said. “Some require a skill to be performed for a judge like doing a lab or writing an experimental design; and some events involve testing a device that the students built.”

As it is a competitive event, tensions are usually high going into a Science Olympiad competition.

“Generally when you’re not in an event you’re cramming or going to cheer on your teammates,” sophomore and vice president Helen Richard said. “But there’s pressure to do well, and it can get kind of crazy at times.”

Despite the nerves that the contestants feel, once the actual competition begins, everything falls into place.

“States was actually pretty calm and not tense at all,” senior Maxwell Row said. “The people, Lake Braddock’s at least, were just as friendly as ever. Everyone seemed happy and focused and ready to compete.”

With this win, the science olympiad team is determined to learn from the competition and come back even stronger in upcoming years.

“Hopefully LB will be able to take first next year and go to nationals,” Richard said.

Even though it is important, winning is not the only aspect or reason for joining Science Olympiad.

“Science Olympiad is a great way to collaborate with other people who share an interest in science,” Schwartz said. “It is a celebration of science and competition.”

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