The NII Explore Science Olympics championship belt—yes, there’s a belt—is heading to Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) after a team of four students successfully conquered a range of science challenges at last Friday’s event.
The first-ever Science Olympics brought together 11 teams of exceptional high school students from across Bruce and Grey counties to compete at Georgian College's Owen Sound campus on Friday, May 26—where organizers witnessed an intense display of science knowledge, problem-solving and collaboration.
Four grade 12 students from SDSS—Peter Alpajaro, Evan Barry, Clara Howe and Jacqueline Fenton—made up the winning team, taking home the championship belt as well as free entry into the University of Windsor Science Olympics next year and $1,000 towards travel and accommodations for that event.
Said team member Evan Barry: “All of us are pretty curious people and science is an opportunity to explore that. I find that we have a variety of experience in our group—some are better in physics or geometry, so we balance each other out.”
With challenges spanning multiple scientific disciplines like geometry, chemistry, forensics, climate science, engineering and more, this groundbreaking event plays a crucial role in bridging the gap in opportunities between urban and rural high school students in the region.
SDSS team member Clara Howe echoed this sentiment: “We haven’t really had a lot of opportunities in the area, so it was pretty cool to come out and see students from other schools.”
Said their teacher Stephanie Cameron: "The Science Olympics was a great, interactive day that allowed students to apply their knowledge with hands-on activities. It was exciting to see our students work together to solve problems using the content and skills they have been working on in class—but the best part of the day was seeing them having fun doing something they enjoy."
“We are thrilled to bring an academic competition of this nature to a region where none of its kind previously existed,” said Director of NII Explore Phillip Craig. “Congratulations to each of our participants—you are all champions, showing determination, positivity and outside-the-box thinking!”
Craig added: “And thank you to our sponsor, Bruce Power, for supporting this event’s impact on the young scientists who took part—we are grateful to you and all of NII's Founding Members for your contributions to STEM education in our region.”
NII Explore also extends its gratitude to the University of Windsor and Georgian College who helped ensure the success of the Science Olympics.