Science Olympiad Season

Marcus Payne and Jacob Marshall 

Staff Writers


The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Science Olympiad team took 24th in states and will not be heading to nationals. However, Central New York will still be represented at nationals, by the Fayetteville-Manlius High School Science Olympiad team, who took first at the competition on March 9 at Le Moyne College. President, senior Owen Farchione, “was satisfied with the results” but thought he could perform a little better.

J-DHS SO qualified for the state championship on Jan. 27 in the regional tournament where two teams placed in the top 10. The A-team came in second place, with the B-team placing 10th, and the C-team placing 29th. Technology teacher and Science Olympiad mentor Larry Stroh said the farthest they’ve ever gone is seventh in states.  

Members of science Science Olympiad create the A, B and C team and each of these teams have 15 students with a maximum of seven seniors. The J-DHS A-team will be going to the state tournament and has 15 students and two alternates. “Science Olympiad allows all students to experience areas of STEM,” said science teacher and Science Olympiad advisor Mike Keenan. The STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math skills are developed in classes such as Design Drawing for Production (DDP), Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) and Principles of Engineering (POE).

The Science Olympiad team took a different approach to preparing for regionals. “The only invitational we did this year was the regionals,” said Farchione. He also said that they felt that the invitationals could not help them improve anymore than by just practicing and working hard during both their own time and during meetings. Their practices are usually two to four hours and consist of researching, building, testing devices, creating binders of info and making tests to quiz each other. Practices are usually held at officers’ houses.

“The students do a lot of work on their own and outside of school,” said Mr. Stroh. They meet after school on Monday, Wednesday, and usually as a group on Saturday. But with states coming up soon, they will have practice more than three times a week, according to Stroh.

The students had very mixed feelings about going to regionals. “I was not very confident and was worried about my events,” said senior Kelvin Porter who participated in Astronomy and Fermi Questions. Likewise, Farchione, who did Experimental Design and Mission Impossible, said he was “super nervous” and felt like he wasn’t prepared. Freshman Max Mimaroglu, who competed in Towers, Mission Impossible, Experimental Design, Helicopters, and Herpetology, said he was nervous at first because everything was last minute and it was stressful but once they got there things settled down “and the day went well.” Senior Rebecca Teitelbaum said that the feeling of the team as a whole was “nervous” even though they were reasonably prepared. Teitelbaum competed in the events Forensics, Mousetrap Vehicle, Thermal Dynamics, and Material Science.

Freshman Xavier Plourde, competed in Fermi Questions and the Mousetrap Vehicle event. He  helped the B-team place 10th in regionals, which led him to being moved to the A-team for states. Plourde thinks that despite never going to nationals before, there is “always hope” for the team.

Porter agrees with Plourde and is very hopeful that they can get to nationals. “I hope that we win, but it will take a lot of hard work. The goal is to improve…and that means going for first,” said Porter.  

J-DHS is currently ranked number 10 in the state along with other local schools such as Fayetteville-Manlius (ranked six) and Cicero-North Syracuse (ranked 12). Each teams place is calculated by the number of high place finishes. In case of a tie the team with the most Gold Medals will win. All of the scores except for the lowest two are calculated into the final score.

Events are either test-based or project-based. Some events that were competed in at regionals were Towers, Mission Impossible, the Mousetrap Vehicle event, Experimental Design, Helicopters, the Fermi event, and Herpetology. Experimental Design is when the students go in a room and have to create an experiment on the materials the judges give them with no prior notification. Mousetrap Vehicle Event is an event that uses two mouse traps to make a car go backwards and forwards a certain distance. Helicopters is when the student builds a helicopter of balsa wood and powers it with rubber bands and it has to fly for a certain time. In Towers the student has to build a tower under certain specifications and the tower that can hold the most weight wins. Mission Impossible is a technology and engineering event in which the student has to create a Rube Goldberg Machine out of 2” by 2” by 2” box. The Fermi Event is a test of 50 problems that involve estimating and unit conversions and you have to solve as many as you can. Herpetology is the study of reptiles and each student is given a test on herpetology.

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