Special to the Exchange
February 28, 2014
LAURINBURG — St. Andrews University will be hosting the Regional Science Olympiad Saturday for middle school competitors.
Nine schools will field a total of 12 teams in the competition, including Carver Middle School.
“This is the 40th anniversary of the Science Olympiad,” said John Knesel, chair of natural and life sciences at St. Andrews who is helping to coordinate the event on campus. “The Science Olympiad started on this campus and we are honored to be continuing in the tradition of providing students with an opportunity to participate in a top level interscholastic competition.”
Rooney Coffman, director of logistics at St. Andrews, worked with Dr. Donald Barnes and Dr. David Wetmore in coordinating that first Olympiad and continues to be the site contact for St. Andrews.
“We work very closely with the North Carolina Science Olympiad organization to provide our region with a quality event,” said Coffman. “Our goal is to see the numbers grow each year to raise the level of competition as high as we possibly can.”
The regional events consist of a series of different hands-on, interactive, challenging and inquiry based events that are well balanced between the various disciplines of biology, earth science, environmental science, chemistry, physics, engineering and technology.
Last year, more than 700 K-12 teams representing over 12,000 students and 65 counties in North Carolina participated in NCSO activities.
“All of our events tie to the common core,” said Kim Gervase, NCSO director. “We are working hard to get kids interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects but also look to empowering teachers.”
One change to help this process along has come from a single change in nomenclature at the request of some leadership at the Olympiad’s base.
“We have always called certain events construction events until the engineering department at NC State asked us to call it engineering,” Gervase said. “People are generally okay building something but they are scared to engineer something. We need to change that.”
The competitions will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a break for lunch. The day will end with the award presentation and closing ceremony beginning at 4 p.m. in Avinger Auditorium.
“We look forward to a great experience for all the students, coaches and families,” said Knesel.