Cassopolis Science Olympiad team fares well at regional tournamentPublished 1:53pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
The Cassopolis High School Science Olympiad team had its best showing at the regional tournament in recent years.
The team finished 11th out of 18 teams March 8 at the competition at Kalamazoo Valley Community College – impressive considering the competition included class A and B schools.
It was a marked improvement over the team’s 17th place finish last year.
“I think we had more commitment with the kids,” coach Meredith Hawkins said. “The kids were just amazing this year.”
The team meets during the school day for a 10-week period, although Hawkins said many of the students came in after school to prepare for the competition.
Vincent Frank and Samantha Stutzman finished first in the “Egg-o-naut” competition in which teams build a rocket with an egg in it attached to a parachute. The rockets are designed to separate in the air allowing the eggs and parachute to float to the ground.
The competition measures the time from liftoff until the egg hits the ground. Frank and Stutzman’s rocket registered at time of 12.8 seconds. The duo said they put in an hour after school every day for two weeks to complete the rocket.
Frank said much of the time was spent on research.
“I researched how much water compared to air, the two-liter bottle needed, which was about one-third,” he said.
It was the school’s first gold medal in four years.
The Cassopolis Science Olympiad team also finished second in environmental chemistry, third in ecology and sixth in ornithology and experimental data. The team participated in all but one of the 25 events.
Hawkins said if they had participated in the other event, they would have finished eighth place or above, earning the team a ribbon.
Hawkins believes Science Olympiad is a valuable program at the school.
“It takes many of the science concepts the students learned in class and puts them in a competitive and applicable nature,” she said. “Kids can see how science works in a real world situation.”