2015-03-14 / Education

NMS students compete in regional Science Olympiad

With 34 middle and high school teams competing, Northern Middle School’s Science Olympiad team brought home four medals to Person County from the regional competition in Durham.

The Durham region is one of the toughest in the state and includes the winners of many state and national championships.

On March 7, this year’s competition took place at North Carolina Central University.

Students from across the state, including Charlotte private schools and Durham STEM Magnet schools, matched their skills and knowledge.

Science Olympiad is one of the nation’s most prestigious and rigorous competitions of science, technology, engineering and math. At both the state and national level, Science Olympiad teams competed in more than two-dozen scientific and engineering challenges on topics ranging from human health, meteorology, chemistry, cell biology, geology and engineering.

Science Olympiad fits well within the role of the Person County Schools’ mission to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics related initiatives. The competition encourages students to continue taking science and technology integrated courses at an early age, which helps them become more college and career ready. The Olympiad is an opportunity for North Carolina universities and colleges to partner with other North Carolina education institutions, as well as state and industrial firms, to become a strong component of the State of North Carolina’s workforce training pipeline, feeding the growing tech based economy, and the many new companies spawned through the state economic development initiatives.

The Olympiad, for middle and high school students, is not just a competition. Science Olympiad teaches students about scientific inter-disciplines through extracurricular hands-on learning and coaching interactions with highly involved parents and teachers. The program is an ongoing state and national competition where students form teams, with each team’s 15 students distributed in pairs to compete in multi-disciplinary events.

The advisor of Northern Middle School’s Science Olympiad team, Lola Justice, said she is particularly proud of the team.

“As head coach this year my focus was to build team spirit,” said Justice. “I wanted the students to realize that their performance in their assigned event, good or bad, affected the whole team. This team spirit is evident with Northern Middle School students, and I believe this helped us win.”

Contributing to the day’s success were Victoria Simmons, Zoe Staskiewicz, Logan Bates and Kaleb Gentry. These Raider Olympians competed and brought Person County medals in academically challenging areas such as anatomy, physiology, STEM, and Engineering Challenge. Sponsored by Shurtape ® Technologies, one event required participants to construct a free standing rectangular prism to a substantial height within 40 minutes. The event requires teamwork, skill, and attention to detail.

Logan Bates said, “It was a lot of fun.”

Team rocket scientists Jamil Lied and Cannon Stacey built a rocket that reached an altitude of 60 feet with climbing speeds of 12 meters per second. Launched from the NCCU football field, their rocket could be seen soaring above the neighboring buildings.

Engineering design team Brianna Ramsey and Carl Jones solved problems after making a working lever for the simple machine competition. Zoe Staskiewicz, Belamy Counou and Octavia Clayton designed and built a bridge that held 6,893 grams of weight.

USGS map reading skills were utilized by Janette Bello- Mejia and Anayeli Anaya in the Road Scholar part of the competition.

The Counou sisters, Gabriella and Belamy, successfully completed the Experimental Design challenge.

Throughout the competition, Kameryn Cunningham and Sidney Nesbitt played many roles and filled in as needed.

All members of Northern Middle School’s Science Olympiad team contributed to the success of the group. The Science Olympiad team has been meeting after school several times per week since September of 2014 to prepare for these competitions. During these after-school Science Olympiad training sessions, Cameron Whitman and Matina McCain were supportive of their team members and trained with the team.

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