The Walpole Middle School Science Olympiad team members are the state champions for the second year in a row, and now they’ve got their sights set on nationals.
In only its second year of existence, the team is headed to its second national competition this May at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Though N.H. Science Olympiad only offers 12 events, the 26 participating 7th-, 8th- and 9th-graders chose to prepare for all 23 events offered at the national competition, in the event they move on to the final test.
Those events cover STEM topics from anatomy and physiology to forensics to hovercraft construction, and vary from written tests to hands-on challenges. Coach Kim Lewis said preparing for competition has taken incredible commitment and flexibility from the students.
“They are facing an impossible task. The tests that are given are impossible to finish and impossible to get an A-plus on,” Lewis said. “That’s good for these kids, who like to get all A-pluses all the time, to understand that they are only this prepared in life, and there’s always more preparation we can do.”
For the students, being part of Science Olympiad is about more than perfecting their STEM skills — and the things they learn translate to other aspects of their lives, too.
“I think it helped me become more independent, because for Science Olympiad you kind of learn more independently,” said 8th-grader Amelia Sethi. “And so when I’m doing my schoolwork it was kind of easier to do new things that I hadn’t been able to do before, and it made me be able to be more independent with my work.”
The social aspect is a big part of it, too, they say. The students noted that the national competition is a good opportunity to make friends from across the country and strengthen their own bonds on the team.
“I definitely would love to be a great friend-maker, but I’m not very good at that, and I feel like this whole experience, you get to go and you meet a whole bunch of people,” said Sidney Curven, also an 8th-grader. “Just waiting around for your topic to start you can start to chat with people and you see what they do and it’s very interesting and you make a lot of friends.”
To cover the costs of traveling to the national competition, the team hopes to raise $25,000 over the next month and a half. So far, the students have planned spaghetti dinners, car washes, bake sales, a science night for younger students and more to help raise the funds.
Lewis noted that it’s also a good experience for the students to attend tournaments on college campuses — including Dartmouth College, Cornell University and St. Anselm College — and get a feel for what life could be like there.
“So they now see themselves in that capacity,” she said. “Their future is their feet on some college campus.”
To donate to the team’s fundraising efforts, visit www.gofundme.com/walpole-science-olympiad.
On April 7 at 2 p.m., the public is invited to attend an opening reception for “Save Our Oceans,” an exhibition at the Keene Public Library that explores the effects of plastic pollution in our oceans. The exhibition will feature work by 31 student artists from Troy Elementary School, Marlborough Elementary School, Keene Middle School, Milford Middle School, Dublin Consolidated School, Monadnock Waldorf School and the homeschool community.
Students submitted their artwork for the exhibition through an environmental art contest coordinated by Danielle Baudrand and N.H. Plastic Pollution Alliance, which asked students to explore the topic of plastic pollution and suggest solutions for change. The exhibition will be on display through the month of April and will also be featured at the Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach for World Oceans Day on June 8.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Gov. Chris Sununu has launched a “Governor for a Day” competition for middle and high school girls across the state. The governor is partnering with Girls Inc., Girl Scouts and Granite Girls State for the contest.
“The Granite State has a long and proud tradition of public service, and we have to ensure that it stays that way for generations to come,” Sununu said in a news release. “The Governor for a Day competition is a unique opportunity for the next generation to explore their passion for one of our proudest traditions.”
To apply, middle and high school girls are asked to finish the sentence, “If I were Governor for a Day, I would …” Written submissions can be sent to GovernorForADay@nh.gov and video submissions can be sent to the governor’s Facebook page. Videos should be limited to one minute and written submissions should be limited to 250 words. The deadline to submit is April 30 at 5 p.m.
Applications are now open for the Rindge Woman’s Club’s Lillian M. and William T. Anderson Memorial Scholarships. The club will award three college scholarships to high school seniors in Rindge and Jaffrey. One graduating senior from Rindge and one from Jaffrey will each receive a $1,500 scholarship, and an additional $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student from Rindge.
Recipients will be chosen based on merit and financial need, and the funds are to be used for an accredited four-year college, two-year college or technical school. Applications are available at the Conant High School guidance office or online at www.rindgewomansclub.org. If submitted online, applications are due by May 1, and if submitted in the guidance office the deadline is April 15.