With an album by Maralyn Fink
After a talk with some students, I learned that there was a Science Olympiad at the school. Camera in hand, I headed to the Science Department. I met with Mr. Richard Lund, the teacher, to begin my journey with this club.
Taking myself to the Lab and Computer room, I met up with Jese Osga, who was working on Rocks and Minerals. He showed me his large book on the subject and some information on his computer.
Also in the room was Rees Moeggenborg, who is the Optics part of this group.
Chase Curtin, a Junior, welcomed me; and his assignment is in Fermi Questions.
All three of these students are very knowledgeable in their particular field.
Wow, I thought, this is so different from back in my day where all I had to worry about was not getting blown up by my lab mate, who nearly did just that and then later went on to become a Judge.
This class is held during the winter session and there are 23 different events or subjects they are involved in. Many and many hours are put in by these students, 1 ½ hours every day after school and as much time at home.
They work in teams, two on most but do have a couple of teams with three students. They participate in Regionals and are awarded points for each placement and the two teams with enough points go on to States. For Regionals, as many teams can participate but only one team can take medals.
The top two teams in this district go on to States at MSU. It is set up the same way as Regionals except events are in different buildings. Keep in mind that there are 23 events in all.
This great team from SJHS is able to go to States and that will be held on April 28th If they accumulate what is needed, they will be eligible for Nationals.
Having to try-out to make the Science Team involves interest in Science and Math, willing to learn more, willing to put in a lot of hours for this.
Not all students that try out make the Team, mostly because of the time needed to spend for this particular team and class.
It was now time to see some “action” from this class. Nick Kurncz who works on Robot, showed the Robot he assembled and then showed how it worked with the remote control. Wow, first time I have seen that! He was in the Regional’s and took 2nd place which will advance him to the States.
Okay, now the big one . . .
Forensics — my time has finally arrived.
Jared Hyde, a senior, was running a “flame” test to see what kind of fabric it was and how it burned.
Then I met Ben Scheffler looking into the microscope. Ok, I’m ready. I asked him what he was looking at and found out that he had taken some evidence from a crime scene and was checking to see if it was horse-hair. I might as well take a look at that also, I thought.
Mr. Lund has been teaching this class for 5 years now. He also has an assistant, Dr. Douma and she helps in the Biological events. She also assists students when help is needed.
I asked about funding, and Mr. Lund explained he has limited funding from the school. There are fundraisers for this team consisting of candy selling at different events, relying on donations from the community, and sell T-Shirts of the teams.
Mr. Lund says that he has a definite healthy pulse of a school to have a team like this with students willing to spend extra time increasing their knowledge.
I left this group with a feeling of awe. The students are remarkable and so knowledgeable about what they are doing.
I thank Mr. Lund and students for allowing me this opportunity to visit them, and one more thing, it was horse-hair. I confirmed it.