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Ready for regionals

Krystle Wagner • Mar 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Grand Haven's Science Olympiad teams head to opening competition, Saturday at GVSU.

Although school dismissed hours earlier, White Pines Intermediate School's workshop was filled with activity Thursday evening.

Throughout the week, members of Grand Haven’s Science Olympiad teams have been making final adjustments to their projects and continuing to prepare for the regional competition on Saturday at Grand Valley State University.

Students in grades 6-7 are on the White Pines Intermediate School team. The Lakeshore Middle School team is comprised of grades 8-9. The Grand Haven High School team is composed of students in grades 10-12.

“Everything is coming along,” GHHS junior Maiya Yu said.

Although each team can have only 15 members compete in the 23 events, many students have been hard at work practicing for the past few months. About 70 students are on the White Pines team, about 35 students are on the Lakeshore team and 24 students are on the high school team.

Lakeshore head coach Nate Mihalek said they have a strong team, which is driven by the ninth-graders who help propel them forward as eighth-graders look to them as role models for work ethic and studying.

White Pines head coach Rhonda Bird said she’s always intrigued by the new events and how the team compares to other schools.

Lakeshore team members Morgan Womack and Carter Brown are participating in this year's new event called Invasive Species. The event challenges students to identify invasive species, and they may also be asked to provide information such as when the species was introduced in the United States and what's being done to prevent growth.

Womack, 14, said the new event sounds interesting because she didn't know much about invasive species.

Yu, 16, has been working on a protein model, but it’s smaller than last year’s 2-foot creation. This year’s event calls for a singularly compact protein model.

Yu said she most enjoys Science Olympiad because it gives students a chance to grow and excel.

“It’s an opportunity to do something unusual in terms of academic extracurricular,” she said.

Participating in Science Olympiad gives GHHS sophomore Ian Dean the chance to study topics in-depth, which he might not be able to do in class, he said. Dean, 15, said he also enjoys the “family” aspect of working as a cohesive unit.

GHHS head coach Mike Reed said he’s looking forward to seeing “the team do as well as they can at every level of competition.”

The Grand Haven High School SO team, which has been around about 30 years, has a long history of being successful at regional, state and national competitions. The team has advanced to the national stage for the past 25 years.

Lakeshore team member Elizabeth Hodge said she enjoys Science Olympiad because it helps students learn they might have strengths in different topics. This year, Hodge learned she's good at biology events.

"You can explore different things," she said of Science Olympiad.

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