HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE OLYMPIAD TEAM HEADED FOR STATE FINALS
HOLMDEL, N.J. – The Holmdel High School Science Olympiad team will be headed to the Science Olympiad State Final tournament after qualifying at the regional tournament at Union County College.
Though Holmdel’s seventh and eighth graders at William R. Satz School have been competing in NJ Science Olympiad for over twenty years, this is only the second year that the high school has fielded a team, and the first time they have qualified for the state final at Middlesex County College on March 13. Comprised of students from all four grade levels, the teams compete in various science activities ranging from classroom exams, to lab work, to constructing and testing towers and wheeled vehicles, incorporating all aspects of STEM in the preparation and execution of their tasks.
According to the official website (njscienceolympiad.org), Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. New Jersey Science Olympiad has been on the leading edge of educational innovations since 1993. These innovations include high academic standards; demonstration of skills through performance testing; learning through hands-on, minds-on activities; cooperative learning through events that require teamwork; improved self-concept through success in achieving high standards and making applications and connections to the real world.
The Holmdel team had their work cut out for them this year. After barely missing the cutoff last year, finishing in 11th place out of a field of 24 teams, the squad managed a 10th place finish this year out of a field of 25 teams, which was good enough for an entry in the state final in March. They had their work cut out for them, with extremely competitive teams from high-flying districts including East Brunswick, Princeton, J.P. Stevens, and West Windsor-Plainsboro, both North and South, the latter two schools often finishing in first place at the state tournament and qualifying for the national finals.
What is most impressive about the Holmdel team is the fact that they prepare, organize and perform their tasks and events completely independently. Unlike some high schools at this level, which have advisors and coaches who assist the teams in preparation and testing, Holmdel’s crew is managed and coordinated for the most part by three junior students, all of whom have competed at the middle school level, who would like to see the Olympiad continue to thrive at the high school for years to come.
Beyond the aspects of STEM and the wide-ranging academic topics that the students are exposed to lies the true nature of what they are able to glean from their experiences in the Science Olympiad: the spirit of innovation and cooperation. And with the Holmdel School District’s motto of “Innovate to Elevate”, we expect great things from the Science Olympiad team in 2018, and for many years to come, as they continue to elevate and raise the bar for themselves and their peers.