On Saturday March 21, 2015, students from 14 different schools located all over Maine gathered at the University of Southern Maine to compete in the 2015 Maine Science Olympiad Competition. Many schools bring two teams, one with returning juniors and seniors, and another providing experience for new members and underclassmen. The competition is an all day affair, with new events starting up every hour. Students compete for both individual and team medals. Windham had yet another strong performance as the Alpha Team finished fourth with the Beta (Photo courtesy of Lisa McLellan)
Team right behind in fifth. This year’s winner was returning champion Waynflete.
There are two different types of events that the students can partake in. Build events are the first type, which require the students to come in with a prebuilt design, and these events are scored base on the performance of their designs. Build events range from bridge design, to vehicles, to planes, and everything in between.
The other type of event is a study event. In a study event, the students prepare by studying provided material before taking a test. Many students do both types of events, which provides them with a wide range of experiences. Each event encompasses its own unique qualities, which encourages students to try out new topics each year. One of the many great qualities of the Science Olympiad is the openness that allows each student to choose what they want to do. This allows students to challenge themselves in new and exciting ways.
Terrance Shoemaker, a Windham senior, explained that the most important thing that he has learned from this competition is that, “I can do anything that I put my mind to.” This is really great for students to see that they can apply creating problem skills learned in the classroom. “[The students] gain experiences that they wouldn’t normally get in class. They have to use science in real world environments,” commented Windham coach Lisa McLellan, when asked in what way do the students benefit the most from being a part of Science Olympiad, she said, many students that are involved in Science Olympiad are going on to careers in some kind of engineering, or other math and science driven programs. But at the end of the day, even with all of the great experiences and skills the students learn, it’s about having a good time.
When asked what part he would miss most about Science Olympiad, Windham senior Dexter Herald replied, “I'll miss the competition the most. Everyone always has fun, no matter how well they do in their events. It's a lighthearted affair, in which people just enjoy the knowledge and the competition.”
The fact that Science Olympiad is student driven and teacher organized, all centered around the enjoyment of math, science, and competition, is what keeps the event around year after year.