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Young Scientists Prep For Regional Olympiad

Budding young scientists from throughout the region are gearing up for the 34th Annual Stanislaus County Regional Science Olympiad slated for Saturday, March 7 at Modesto Junior College (West Campus Science Center). The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and will end with the Awards Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. held inside the Agriculture Pavilion. More than 550 students representing area junior and senior high schools will participate in the day-long event. The public is invited to attend. Admission and parking are free.

There will be a couple students representing Riverbank High School at the event and Cardozo Middle School (CMS) has a team of about 15 students competing. CMS Science Teachers Florencio Estrada and Dawn Thurmond are coaching the team in several events like Boomilever, Elastic Glider, Mousetrap Vehicle, Crime Busters, Reach for the Stars and other events in Division B Middle School Level events.

“We have competed and attended the event for the past few years,” stated Thurmond. “Last year we were able to place fifth in a couple events and third in the Boomilever event for the first time in our school’s history. Last year was quite an exciting year for us. The competition is student-led and self-motivated where students do the work and we advise and assist as needed for clarification purposes only.”

This year’s Science Olympiad is sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), Modesto Junior College, Education Foundation of Stanislaus County and the Mother Lode Mineral Society. Derek Madden, Biology Professor from MJC, and Cheryl Goulart, Student Events Program Coordinator from SCOE, are coordinating the event. They will join more than 150 volunteers who will judge or assist with the competition.

The Regional Science Olympiad consists of individual and team events that encourage learning in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, problem solving and technology. Some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, while others rely on science processes, skills or application. Several events require students to build devices prior to the competition, such as Gravity Vehicle. For this event, teams design, build and test one vehicle and ramp that uses the vehicle’s gravitational potential energy as its sole means of propulsion to reach a target as quickly and accurately as possible.

The following junior high/middle schools are participating: Blaker-Kinser, Cardozo, Creekside, Hickman Charter, Hickman Middle, La Loma, Modesto Christian, Oakdale, Our Lady of Fatima, Prescott, Riverbank Language, Roosevelt, Sacred Heart, Turlock, Ustach and Whitmore Charter. The following high schools are participating: Beyer, Central Catholic, Central Valley, Ceres, Davis, Enochs, Gregori, Merced, Modesto, Modesto Christian, Oakdale, Oakdale Charter, Pitman, Riverbank, Turlock and Whitmore Charter.

The top four teams in each division will advance to the Northern California (Nor Cal) Science Olympiad State Finals. This year’s state Science Olympiad is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2020 at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.