By Elyana Schosek
Throughout middle school and into high school, students are presented with many interesting extracurricular activities. One of these is Science Olympiad, one of the largest K-12 STEM organizations in the country.
Thirteen Springville-Griffith students traveled to Waterfront School in Buffalo to compete March 2 along with Kristin Hughey, the main advisor of the group for seven years, and Bahadir Baykal, co-advisor for two years.
This year’s team consisting of one 6th grader, two 7th graders, eight 8th graders and two 9th graders.
“Science Olympiad is an amazing opportunity for students and science enthusiasts alike,” noted Sophia Martin, an 8th grade participant.
“Whether you’re an avid fan of science or not, the events branch out into different topics of science and make it into a fun and interesting competition,” she continued. “Studying and preparing for months can be tedious, but it all pays off once you arrive at the competition.”
The team placed 4th out of 14 schools. They were excited about this and their coaches were proud.
Each year there are a total of 23 events offered. Each team must enter 20 of these.
“Each year there are 5 new topics tested, and the rules for the returning events change year to year,” Hughey said.
When asked how they prepared for the competition, Gracie Gilcrist said: “The students spent months studying and practicing for their event. Starting in November, we met every Tuesday and Wednesday after school for two hours, working hard to do our best.
“While a large portion of the events are testing events, there are many hands on events as well,” Gilcrist added.
Sophia Martin mentioned Disease Detectives and Thermodynamics as a couple of the interesting events this year.
“For Disease Detectives, it was an event to study and prepare for,” she said. “When I arrived at my designated time, I was given a test and 50 minutes to complete it. A non-programmable stand alone calculator and one sheet of notes was allowed at this specific event.
“As for thermodynamics, my partner and I had to make a device beforehand to bring to the event,” she continued. “The device was made to insulate water that was heated to a specific degree (in Celsius). While the device was being tested, so were we. We had a test on thermodynamics. … For this event, we were allowed to bring a non-programmable stand alone calculator and a binder full of any notes we needed for the test.”
“The battery buggy event is commonly a fan favorite: competitors are required to build a battery powered car that can travel a certain distance and then stop,” Gilcrist explained. “Another popular event is the roller coaster, where competitors build a roller coaster than can be adjustable to run for a time typically chosen the day of the competition.”
“Science Olympiad provides a great opportunity for students to work in a more competitive environment, to learn to work under pressure with a partner, and to show their skills to other schools,” she continued. “The students typically pick topics they are very passionate about, making this a fun experience for all.”
When asked what her favorite part of all of it was, Martin said, “…the entire process is participating in the events you sign up for. It really feels nice being tested and showing what you know and worked hard for.”
Similarly, Gilcrist added: “…building stronger bonds with the people on my team and earning medals for the events I worked hard on. … I became more educated in my events, worked hard to do well in them, yet still managed to have fun while doing it all.”
“For most of us, it was our first time, so seeing what we had accomplished was an amazing feeling. I feel that as a team we worked incredibly hard,” Martin added.
Each year, the team is generously sponsored by Springville Kiwanis, and the team would like to thank them for their support again this year.