(Publisher’s note: This story has been updated to include the generous grant of the Chelsea Education Foundation and the support of the Chelsea School District.)
At a recent Chelsea High School Science Olympiad team practice, it was all about chemistry, rocks and minerals, insulated boxes and levitation devices — as students put the final touches on entries and studied scientific topics.
The team was prepping for the Eastside Invitational at De La Salle Collegiate High School, which took place on Jan. 26.
For some team members, this would be their first high school Science Olympiad competition; for others, it was a a warm-up for the regional competition in March.
Veteran competitor Lauren Schad, a senior, has been competing in these events since she was a freshman and is hoping the team will make it to states on April 27. But first, they must place in the top two at regionals on March 16.
“I like chemistry,” she said, adding that she plans to be an engineer. “I’m leaning toward chemical or environmental engineering.”
Science Olympiad keeps Schad interested in science beyond the classes she’s currently taking.
“It helps me remember all the science I’ve learned up till now,” Schad said.
She said because of her schedule this year, she is only able to take two science classes.
Abby Fischer, a senior and another veteran competitor, said she got involved in Olympiad her sophomore year when she followed a friend onto the team.
Fischer plans to “study wildlife biology or something else with animals” and shadows at a veterinary clinic in Manchester.
“I’ve always loved animals and the science-related stuff,” she said. Science Olympiad allows her to add to her environmental knowledge, biology as well as forestry.
Matthew Proegler said he “got started in sixth grade.” He enjoys the earth-related events and considers science a hobby.
“I’m looking more toward chemistry and engineering,” he said of his future studies.
For freshmen Camden Dammeyer and Nora Dobos, who were working on a magnetic levitation vehicle, said their involvement in the Science Olympiad began in middle school where they were on a team.
“In science, there is always something new to learn about,” Dobos said.
Dammeyer agreed. “I’ve always liked science. It’s fun.”
Both freshmen said they were considering a future in engineering.
Sophomore Artemis Eyder was busy identifying rocks and minerals in preparation for last weekend’s competition with volunteer coach Bill Barr.
“I always thought (rocks) were neat, but I never took the time to study them,” she said.
Conor Heaney, a senior, was working on creating insulation to keep a beaker of hot water warm for as long as possible.
Heaney, who was heading into his debut Science Olympiad competition, said, “I enjoy tackling the goal and building an object.”
He, too, plans to major in science or engineering in college.
The Science Olympiad team consists of Fischer, Anna Argento, Eyster, Dammeyer, Heaney, EJ Lin, Henry Ellis, Kat Haroney, Katie Dewyer, Schad, Logan Preston, Proegler, Maya Pifer, Nick Dewyer and Nora Dobos.
Coaches are Aparna Gosh in anatomy and physiology, David Proegler, the built-it event and boomilever, Duane Moss in magnetic levitation, William Barr in rocks and minerals, Maureen Lin in disease detectives, Alan Argento in materials science, Sheryl Dewyer in designer genes and Christine Forsch, head coach for the high school team.
“The team did pretty well in its first competition at Eastside Invitational (on Jan. 26),” Forsch said, adding, “They finished in the upper third of scores and we were missing, unexpectedly, one of our senior students.”
She said the high school team “competed with some of the best teams in Michigan – those who have a Science Olympiad class in their curriculum.”
Forsch also wanted to thank the Chelsea Education Foundation for grant funding, which helps the team and the Chelsea School District for its support.
Thirty-three teams competed and the best schools brought two teams each, she said.
In two of the events, forensics and disease detectives, the Chelsea team finished in fourth and sixth place. In another event, they were seventh.
“I am very excited for this team when we compete March 16 at our regional event,” Forsch said, adding, “We will need to be first or second to go to state competition.”