Etched in Stone

Science Olympiad season kicks off

Liam Flake

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Fossil Ridge High School’s Science Olympians held their kick off meeting on Friday, September 15, initiating their year-long season. Practice commences in October, and the team has high hopes for the year-long season after placing 24th overall last year in the national tournament in Dayton, Ohio. In that competition, Kaley Kearns and Chelsea Wang won fourth place in Ecology, Gracie Finnegan and Catherine Zhang won second place in Rocks and Minerals, and Karina Tertel and Chelsea Wang won third place in Write It Do it.

This year, students will be competing in 23 events, including Astronomy, Optics, Experimental Design, Mousetrap Vehicle, and Hovercraft. Teams are composed of up to 15 people, with each student participating in three events. At Fossil, Science Olympiad is sponsored by Mrs. Vigil and Mr. Dannahower. Together with the club’s volunteers, their aim is to win first place in the state competition in April and qualify for the national tournament in May, as well as to continue community and parent involvement through informal gatherings such as study nights and potluck dinners.

This year, there are relatively few changes to the structure of Science Olympiad. What has shifted from last year includes the fact that the program has fewer participants, according to Mr. Dannahower. “It’ll be a more intimate organization,” says Dannahower. Additionally, the program is attempting to transition to a more student-led organization, and will be establishing a board of students. To top it off, new events have been added this year, putting the total at 23 unique events. Dannahower’s personal favorite remains Forensics, as well as any building events. As he described, “You can watch them develop over the season, and then watch them compete.”

One of this year’s contenders is Ethan Sherman, a returning sophomore to the program. “For this season, I’m hoping to sweep my events at regionals, get first in at least two at state, and hopefully medal in one at nationals,” he stated. Sherman is coming back to the program after a promising start during his freshman year, having won second place in Anatomy at the state competition. He aspires to learn, in his own words, “a decent chunk of information,” but states that Science Olympiad – or Science O, as it is known to most – is about more than just academics. “My main interest in this program is that it gives me an opportunity to dive deeper into a specific area of science,” says Sherman. Additionally, “Science Olympiad is an amazing extracurricular that builds wonderful friendships through learning and competition.”

Moreover, the greatest appeal of Science Olympiad is not just the extensive studies, but the chance to compete with the stakes of national glory and academic recognition. “Students grow and get more excited as the year goes on, and it’s exciting to see them receive medals and trophies, up there on the stage with big smiles on their faces,” explains Dannahower. “It’s been a real honor to be a coach of the team.”

The season will culminate with the Science Olympiad National Tournament next May. Competitors at Fossil will not have to travel far for this event, as it will be taking place in Fort Collins at Colorado State University.

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Science Olympiad season kicks off