—Submitted by parent Denise Bondoni
It was a great start to an evening that led to take home seventh place out of 60 middle school teams in the National Science Olympiad competition on Saturday, May 19. Central Florida University in Orlando hosted 120 teams from both B and C Divisions, middle and high schools. Less than a month ago Meads Mill’s Science Olympiad team was declared State Champions.
Carolyn Wu and Sahil Tolia collected medals for their sixth place finish in Forestry while Yannis Bi partnered with Michael Zhang for fifth place in Keep the Heat. The Mousetrap Vehicle came in fifth thanks to Angela Li and Eric Tao. In the blink of an eye, the Optics event with twin brothers, Jonathan and Yannis Bi finished fifth. And Storm the Castle tested at top performance this year, allowing Michael Zhang and Nick Remington to finish in fourth place. Out of 23 events, Meads Mill took home six medals by finishing in the top six in these fore mentioned categories.
Principal Dr. Susan Meyer graciously accompanied the team to Florida, observing several events across campus, and sitting with the team in the fifth row in front of the stage at the awards ceremony. Here she is, again proving what outstanding support from Northville’s educational staff we parents have here in our hometown. “I am glad I had the opportunity to go with the students and their parents. The kids work very hard and find time to really explore their passion in science. They also have time to play!" she said.
When students were not studying, play they did. On the eve of the competition, after opening ceremonies with keynote speaker Dr. Jan Garavaglia, aka Dr. G Medical Examiner from Discovery Health Channel, students from all participating states had the opportunity to swap amongst each other small mementos indigenous to their states. Dr. G’s sentiments on how “curiosity” kept her on a forward path to expanding her knowledge and promoting further opportunities resonated with students while they grouped together and peaked their interest by visiting the Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios and Discovery Cove.
Teamwork was defined from the onset this season with Science Olympiad. The group began with 63 very bright students whose participation throughout the trial events helped lead the 15 to Nationals. (Three additional team members joined in the trip for support as alternates.) Individual team members needed flexibility to partner with other teammates depending on the event schedule for that competition. Eventually, these students began to recognize each other’s value, to rely on each other and appreciate each other’s talents.
The dedication from head coach, Diane Xu, and several parent coaches is what led the team to define their goal. Leading to the big day, parent coach, Jeanne Bi willed, “I think the students will be happy to finish in the top 10.” Amazing hard work and effort from the team of dedicated students, allowed them to do just that. The first time competing against the best of the best in the country was what the team hoped they would achieve. Watching it come true was a miracle.
As a parent, I recognize the most wonderful gift of this experience: morale building among classmates, a newfound camaraderie between grade levels, an appreciation for each other’s strengths, and a reaching out to overcome weaknesses. Not only has this experience been intellectually challenging, but thanks to Science Olympiad, Coach Xu, and devoted parents, I witness a strong character building among these students as well. A true team effort and a true measure of success!