Friday, September 21, 2018
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Science Olympiad not for nerds

GHS medalists say there’s something for everyone at event

After the best finish in several years for Gothenburg High School students at regional Science Olympiad events, several medalists shared their thoughts on the event.

The Swedes sent 13 science students to the University of Nebraska at Kearney on March 20, where participants finished fourth out of 16 teams.

Junior Cody Cooper, who teamed up with sophomore Betsy Potter to win the forestry event, said there’s something for everyone at the meet.

“It’s not just for nerds,” Cooper said.

Biology teacher and team sponsor Maggie Tiller echoed Cooper’s thoughts when she said some of the events are not directly taught in classrooms.

“A student can find an interest they have and it’s fun to study something they like,” Tiller said.

Junior Preston Franzen, a second-place winner with teammate and sophomore Trenton Long in the tower category, said participants don’t have to be “a super-smart straight-A student.”

“You can be average and still do well,” Franzen said. “You have to put yourself out there, take a risk and try something new. Teamwork is also important.”

Students researched their events/and or built structures like helicopters and towers before competition.

For example in the tower competition, Franzen said they followed a formula to build a tower that included criteria such as height and weight.

During competition, sand was added to see how much weight each structure could hold.

In the helicopter category, models were launched and judged on how high they flew and how long they stayed in the air.

The award-winning structure, built by Jessica Schmidt and Rachel Rice, flew so high that it got stuck in the rafters in the UNK health and sports center.

Other contests, such as forestry and disease detectives, involved testing.

Potter and teammate Rebecca Anderson, a fellow sophomore, teamed up to win the event. Potter said they were challenged in disease detectives as she and Anderson had to evaluate and predict what would happen with the spread of several diseases.

“Many of them we had never heard of before,” she said.

Tiller said Science Olympiad gets students excited about science and helps them build problem-solving skills.

Cooper said it opens their eyes to things they often don’t think of being a part of science.

Other events and medalists included Anderson, sophomore Kayla Trevino and Franzen, who took fourth in experimental design and senior Jeramie VanAcker and Long, who finished fourth in astronomy.

Grand Island Northwest won the competition, followed by Alma and Ogallala.

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