Friends Pauses for a Moment of Science

Lucy Knudsen, News Writer

Friends students prepare for and compete every year in the Science Olympiad competition in March. Before the competition takes place, students build projects and study in preparation. At the competition, students work with partners in different events that they are interested in. The Science Olympiad club is important to the Friends community because it provides a space for students who are interested in STEM to learn more, bond with like-minded students, and test their knowledge.

James Tallman ‘19, member of the club, remarked on why he joined the club in the first place: “I joined Freshman year because I did Science Olympiad in Middle School, but Science Olympiad seemed like a great place to explore things I had no idea about and to learn more about science”. Tallman also commented on what happens during the actual competition: “In the competition, everyone gets to take part in different events that they are interested in. The events are either build events, where you prepare and build something for the competition, or test events, were you study for the event and take a test at the competition, which is held at Delaware State University in the beginning of March. Last year I did ecology, astronomy, material science and Wright stuff. Daniel Adebi and I got second place in astronomy. That was exciting”. For Tallman and his partner, the competition was an opportunity to dive deeper into topics of interest and show off their knowledge and hard work. Tallman spoke to what goes on during the club meetings: “In the club meetings, we generally check in with the team on how far we are in preparing for our event. We also communicate with our partners, discussing what we want each person to study, prepare, or build. Most of the studying and building happens outside of the club meetings.” Seeing Friends school students develop their academic interests and apply then in interesting new ways speaks to the school’s values and the students’ dedication.

Hailey DiCindio ‘18, who is one of the clerks of Science Olympiad, commented further on the preparation for the competition: “In Science Olympiad we do our best to give people the events they request at the beginning of the year”. DiCindio also mentioned how the team bonds and works together: “Once in a while we’ll try to organize a weekend gathering for the team so that we have each other to motivate us, and there’s lots of brainpower to help other duos out. The team plays jokes on each other and laughs a lot, so overall it’s a really fun time with people that love STEM topics. And in addition to getting to know some awesome people that compose our team, we have the opportunity to do research on and learn about specific areas in the sciences that interest us”. It is important for students who are interested in similar topics to bond and share ideas. Students from Friends have been doing Science Olympiad for several years now. DiCindio mentioned how the team has been involved in the past years: “We haven’t typically done well in the past (placing close to the bottom), although Donovan Aldridge, Daniel Adebi, and James Tallman have received medals”. It is impressive that several students from Friends have done well in the competition, and hopefully the whole team will place high this year!

Mr. Cauchy, faculty advisor for Science Olympiad, remarked on some of the specifics of the competition: “Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who test their knowledge and engineering skills against 60 other teams in the Delaware state tournament on March 3rd. Students take tests, do practical hand-on science activities and test the performance of their engineering projects. There are 23 subjects areas that include biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, physics and others, such as forensics”. There are plenty of interesting topics for students to learn more about. Mr. Cauchy also provided a few examples of things that participants would be asked to do during the competition: “Examples of the practical skills tested are performing a chemistry lab or measuring the properties of an electrical circuit. A couple examples of this year’s engineering projects are building a hovercrafts and a mousetrap vehicle. Students work on the projects on their own time and during Day 5 lunch”. Students take on projects that are interesting to them, but also pertain to the competition.

Friends is lucky to have several students competing in Science Olympiad this year, because these students are dedicated to applying and studying STEM topics. The club and competition provide an opportunity to learn not only about what students are already interested in, but also topics that they know nothing about. Furthermore, it provides a sense of community for students who are interested in science and technology. It is exciting to see Friends students inventing and building complicated projects that are interesting to them. To the students competing- best of luck in the Science Olympiad competition!