Special to The Swellesley Report, by David Jackson and Julia de Peyster
Results are in, and the Wellesley Middle School Science Olympiad team made a great showing during last Saturday’s Massachusetts State Meet at Assumption College in Worcester.
Entering a series of exam-based as well as build & design competitions, 49 students [t-shirt logo notwithstanding] competed on subjects ranging from robots to insects, CSI to astronomy, and musical instrument design to technical writing. Amongst the high points of the day, the WMS students had particular success with “Dynamic Planet” (glaciers, this year), “Solar System” (extraterrestrial water, this year) and “Shock Value” (electromagnetism, every year). Overall, the Main Team came in 4th, its best-ever finish, against a record field of 33 schools.
“WMS SciOly has experienced increasing success as its membership swells”, states its Head Coach and grade 6 science teacher, David Jackson. “The team-based environment, in which all events involve working in groups of two or three students, seems to draw in kids. Additionally, parents are increasingly interested in STEM programs for their children. Finally, our program is significantly enhanced with the help of mentors like Brian Kelly, a teacher in the WMS Industrial Technology department, and Bridget Fay, a local lawyer who once participated in her middle school’s Science Olympiad team. With their many hours of assistance and the help of committed parents, the kids gain valuable practice time on nights and weekends in addition to the after-school time that any team at WMS expects of its teammates.”
The one-day competition and awards ceremony is just the culmination of these students’ tremendous efforts. Like a track meet or lacrosse tournament, it is a way for individuals who have enthusiasm for STEM to come together as a team and compete statewide against their like-minded peers. A celebratory dinner afterwards said it all: kids from all three grades, boys and girls, together with their families were enthusiastically reviewing the greatest inventions and concepts they had seen during this year’s Science Olympiad. That’s what this team is all about – inspired kids coming together in a fun atmosphere, making work seem like play, and sharing scientific success stories.
P.S. A note from a Science Olympiad mom: The team gets its entrance fee paid for by the school, but needs to raise thousands of dollars for materials. Donations of money and materials are always welcome.
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