Best of the Week 2018-2019: Excellence in College Prep

May 3, 2019




Last weekend, St. Ed's Science Olympiad Team competed in their third consecutive year at the Ohio Science Olympiad State Tournament at The Ohio State University among the top 40 teams in Ohio.  Science Olympiad, a STEM-based competition for high school students, hosts 23 different events which include exams, labs and building events that range in a variety of topics from Earth Science, Chemistry and Physical Science to Technology and Engineering.  "Science Olympiad allows our students to apply what they've learned in the classroom and compete with their peers in a social, academic environment against other premier Science Olympiad high schools," says Science Olympiad Moderator and Pre-Engineering & Science teacher Mrs. Erin Schilf.  "The competition's categories also rotate each year to provide variety.  Students can also learn new concepts typically not taught in the high school classroom such as ornithology, astronomy and herpetology.  Our students need to learn how to function outside the classroom in high pressure situations, think on their feet and successfully work with a team to execute tasks."  


This year, St. Ed's Science Olympiad teams built from scratch their own musical instrument, mousetrap vehicles, digital thermometer, rubber band powered balsa wood airplane, boomilever and Rube Goldberg machine.  Students used their knowledge in 3D-printing, Arduino and Jmol software, physics, engineering and even music theory to successfully build their devices and studied content related to categories such as thermodynamics, designer genes, protein modeling, circuit lab and disease detectives to pass the exam portions for certain events.  Congratulations to the following Science Olympiad members who placed in the top 15 for their events: 


4th Place: Cam Carandang '19 and Jack Reardon '19 (Anatomy & Physiology) 

7th Place: Jack Reardon '19 and Ryan Ward '20 (Designer Genes) 

9th Place: Cam Carandang '19, Jack Reardon '19 and Billy Seibert (Protein Modeling) 

11th Place: Jack Reardon '19 and Billy Seibert '19 (Thermodynamics) 

12th Place: George Platko '19 and Billy Seibert '19 (Circuit Lab) 

15th Place: Sam Dudley '19 and Jack Reardon '19 (Disease Detectives) 


Members of the State Team included: Captains Jack Reardon '19, Billy Seibert '19 & Brandon Sherrard '19 as well as George Platko '19, Sam Dudley '19, Rob Flores '19, Cam Carandang '19, Rawad Almhana '19, Liam Brian '20, Kurt Franz '20, Ryan Ward '20, Jacob Gibson '20, Anthony Chambers '20, Ethan Loderstedt '21, Emerson Gray '21, Tim Welch '21 and Joey Baker '22. 


"Competing at States helped us as scientists and innovators by growing our passion for science and generating curiosity," says Jack Reardon '19.  "Most of us are interested in pursuing STEM in college and Science Olympiad has been a great opportunity for us to learn more about topics like protein modeling, designer genes and astronomy which are currently at the forefront of scientific research.  Representing St. Ed's at States was a good way for us to get our foot in the door to advance our scientific skills in experimental design, forensics and chemistry which can be applied to almost any area of science that we may choose to pursue in college or within our potential STEM careers." 


"Working on the Science Olympiad Team has given me an outlet for my existing interest in STEM and I've discovered more applications for my skills that I want to continue learning about in college and beyond," says George Platko '19.  "Competing at the state level has helped me learn more about electrical and mechanical engineering and has given me hands-on experience that has been instrumental in the learning process.  STEM provides so many rewarding opportunities and Science Olympiad goes beyond the classroom to teach us how to apply STEM in meaningful ways." 


"Science Olympiad fulfills what formal classes lack: the combination of academics and socialization," says Billy Seibert '19.  "This club is not purely about scientific exploration, but is a community of people at St. Ed's who enjoy working and spending time with each other - an incubator for friends and mentors." 


"My biggest takeaway from working on my project for states was that expectations are not often a reality at first," says Brandon Sherrard '19.  "When working on STEM projects that require the construction of a device or product, numerous innovations need to be made for testing.  I found it tempting to latch onto particular avenues of thought and model types, but would find them unsuccessful despite several changes.  I learned to not be afraid to go back and completely rethink the problem.  I often found myself asking, 'How will this specific design decision help solve the problem?'  This helped me to not only be more confident in the finished product, but also steered me toward the design best suited to accomplish the goal at hand.  Science Olympiad has been a great opportunity for me and so many students to expand our learning and share deep connections over similar interests and, as a soon-to-be graduating senior, I can't help but be optimistic for future participants." 


A special thank you to Mrs. Schilf, Science Department Chair Mrs. Anne Marie Lavelle and Science Teacher Mr. Libero Puccini who served as Science Olympiad Moderators and helped lead St. Ed's Science Olympiad team to states.  Another congratulations goes to Mrs. Schilf who was this year's recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award.  "It is an honor to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award, especially because it comes from the students," says Mrs. Schilf.  "I'm humbled because I've learned from so many incredible teachers.  Mrs. Lavelle and Mr. Puccini have done so much to enable me to become a better educator and I am thankful for the support and advice from my peers." 

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