The Green Vale School science lab was filled with enthusiasm, as the students who are part of the Science Olympiad program dove into the captivating world of scientific exploration and discovery.
Guided by the dynamic leadership of GVS Upper School Science teacher, Kristin Nastos, and Upper School Math teacher, Caitlin Madden, this nationwide STEM competition was offered as an after school enrichment program to students in 5th to 8th Grade. Uniting their passion for science and problem-solving, the aim for these science buffs was clear: to dive into 22 challenging scientific events offered at this year's regional competition at Kellenberg Memorial High School in March.
According to the Science Olympiad website, "Science Olympiad functions much like a football or soccer team, requiring preparation, commitment, coaching and practice throughout the year. Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who cross-train for a variety of events in their skill set, but some school clubs have more than 75 members, allowing for an apprentice and mentoring system."
At Green Vale, the teams are fully immersed in their preparations. Students engage in constructing towers, planes, and wheeled vehicles, conducting forensic and chemistry experiments, and delving deep into detailed topics like Anatomy, Earth Science, Astronomy, Meteorology, and Ecology. “This is not a competition for the faint of heart!” Nastos quipped.
She continued to explain, “Science Olympiad is a chance for students to work as a team, collaborate, display their academic prowess, and to show that their talents lie beyond physical pursuits. It also allows students from different grade levels to work with others that they wouldn't normally interact with. I have cross-collaboration across the board.”
As the competition date draws near, excitement and anticipation are palpable. For the teachers and students, it isn’t merely about the quest for victory: it’s about the journey of learning, of bonding with peers across grade levels, and of forging enduring friendships through a shared love for science.
“I love the inclusive nature of Science Olympiad,” shared Jourdyn Taylor, a passionate 7th Grader at GVS. “This program provides us with the chance to explore diverse fields of science.” Excitement echoed from her classmate Mia Bhalla, who eagerly added, “Absolutely! It's not just about learning; it's also an incredible opportunity to have a blast with friends!”
For Nastos, Madden, and the team, the Science Olympiad is an arena where passions for STEM blossomed, where academic prowess met resilience, and where every experiment and project was a step toward shaping young minds for a future in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.