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Wantagh Science Olympians Gear Up For Regional Tournament

Pictured: Students from Wantagh High School’s Science Olympiad team, with adviser Rich Colavita, spend time afterschool several days a week preparing for the upcoming regional competition on Feb. 3.

Photos courtesy of the Wantagh School District

Aspiring scientists from eastern Nassau County will come together in a few weeks at the regional Science Olympiad competition, including about 30 members of Wantagh High School’s club. Students will compete in dozens of events covering a wide range of topics from aerodynamics to forensics to chemical reactions.

Students that comprise Wantagh’s two Science Olympiad teams – each can have up to 15 participants – have been preparing for months and are now in the homestretch. Adviser Rich Colavita said that each student will compete in two or three events at the Nassau East competition on Feb. 3 at Syosset High School.

Wantagh Science Olympians Gear Up For Regional Tournament

Senior Patrick Iskander works on a robot that will have to traverse a maze at the tournament.

Wantagh has a strong record of success at the regional tournament, having advanced to the state level in eight of the past 10 years. The competition features three types of events – build ahead, labs and tests.

For build ahead, participants bring their contraptions to the competition to be put to the test. Wantagh students are working on a rubber band-powered airplane that must fly the farthest distance, and a scrambler car that is powered by a falling weight to get as close as possible to a fixed target. They are also building a robot to travel through a maze and a catapult that must launch balls at a target.

Wantagh Science Olympians Gear Up For Regional Tournament

Science Olympiad members, from left, Catherine Ibrahim, Emma Nicholas and Heather Sheridan work on their build ahead projects.

“I want the students to get an appreciation for doing a topic of science that they’re interested in,” Mr. Colavita said, noting that the first meetings of the year are devoted to going through the competition manual and deciding who will compete in each event. “Competitive science is also fun. There’s a value to friendly competition.”

Mr. Colavita also noted the importance of teamwork. While many compete in events individually, it is the total team score that determines if they advance to the state tournament.

“They’re all counting on each other,” he said.

Wantagh Science Olympians Gear Up For Regional Tournament

Lauren Furer, a new member of the team, studies for the anatomy event, which will be a test about different body systems.

Freshman Lauren Furer, a newcomer to the team, will take part in the anatomy event, which will test her knowledge of the excretory, lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. She enjoys Science Olympiad because it allows her to learn in-depth about different areas.

“I like the people because everyone here is interested in similar topics and we all have a common goal,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to work toward something together.”

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