Success in Science

OCS Middle School team fares well in its first Science Olympiad

8th graders Paityn Headley and Stephanie Leach display their medals at the Science Olympiad event held on March 11 at Delaware State University.

8th graders Paityn Headley and Stephanie Leach display their medals at the Science Olympiad event held on March 11 at Delaware State University.

Dhruvi Patel, Staff Writer

Olympic events are not only for the best athletes in the world. They can also be for the best young scientists in the state.

On March 11, Odyssey Middle School’s Science Olympiad team competed in the statewide competition at Delaware State University. The team, which faced 24 other middle schools, competed in 18 events and medaled in six.

According to its website, Science Olympiad is a competition where students “compete in 23 events pertaining to various fields of science, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.”

“I was really proud of everybody,” said 8th-grade science teacher Nick Manolakos, who led the middle school team in its first year of existence. “I was impressed with everybody’s performance. I thought the Science Olympiad itself was awesome because the kids were able to compete in a safe environment while also having fun and feeling supported. And I look forward to bringing the team back next year to compete again.”

8th graders Stephanie Leach and Paityn Headley had the highest finish for Odyssey, placing 2nd in the “Roller Coaster” event. They were given a time (53 seconds) and had to manipulate their track to meet that target time. They missed by less than a second, and also earned points for including a loop and a jump in their roller coaster.

“I felt very accomplished because I put so much work into building it and testing it,” said Leach about her roller coaster. “Also it was extra cool seeing all my teammates seeing it for the first time and being amazed at it because I worked on it at home.”

The next highest finishers for Odyssey were 6th graders Zechariah Lin and Gabe Finch, who placed 6th in “Flight,” an engineering event.

“I was nervous when we weren’t called for 9th or 10th place,” said Lin. “When we got 6th that was very exciting.”

“I was excited because I won a medal and because we put our hard work into something,” said Finch.

Other medalists for Odyssey were 8th graders Kris Trikaliotis-Smith and Clement Wong, who placed 7th in “Storm the Castle”; 8th graders Jayla Atebe and Milan Staples, who placed 10th in two categories, “Crime Busters” and “Disease Detectives”; and Leach and 8th grader Roanne Ribaya, who placed 10th in “Write It Do It.”

In “Write It Do It,” one team member must write a description on how to build an object that they created.The other team member must then build the same object themselves, but only by reading the description.

“I like being able to work together and I learned that people think differently,” said Leach. “It helped me realize that everybody describes and sees things differently.”

The Odyssey team, which named itself the Science Greeks, met two days each week after school to work on its projects and prepare for the state competition. Manolakos was assisted by 8th-grade math teacher Vassilios Guidoglou and parent Isaac Lin.