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Science Olympiad team is blowing away the competition

Portage Central's science-lovers have had an extremely successful season

Ben Miller, Opinion Editor

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       There are very few activities within our school that have members as passionate as those in Science Olympiad. Our team is fairly small, but it is made up of extremely dedicated and smart individuals who are interested in STEM and science in general. The Portage Central Science Olympiad team has consistently been one of the best in the state. This can be contributed in part to the advisor and physics teacher, Dale Freeland. Freeland is very proud of his team and the success they have had this season.

       The season started in December and the team has enjoyed a myriad of success since then including when, earlier in the year, the two Portage high schools ran an invitational event and they finished first on that date. In January, they went down to Middlebury, Ind. and finished eleventh out of 44 teams. At the important regional event, which was held Feb. 25, they finished first and with that they received an invitation to attend the state finals, Freeland said. Freeland strongly believes the effort put into Science Olympiad is reflective of success.

       Students that are involved in Science Olympiad are generally individuals who love science and want to pursue science-related careers, such as engineering. “There are five engineering contests. Those require a different kind of time where you actually have to build something then it performs on the date of the competition,” Freeland said.

       “Generally we find that students that who put in more time do better throughout the year. I have students that put up to 15 to 20 hours per week on Science Olympiad things,” Freeland said. He is also looking forward to the future and hopefully beating Portage Central’s biggest rival.

       “The goal is to look at the regional competitions and see what we did well in and what we need to improve in. In the region, Hastings High School and Portage Central have battled for first and second for quite a few years. We slipped ahead of them by a couple points this year,” he said.

       Junior Frank Zlomek, who is actively involved on the team, is excited about what the team has accomplished and what he thinks the team will continue to shine. Through the construction of many complex projects over the course of the season, Zlomek has demonstrated significant dedication to this activity.

       “We just did an ROV, which was a remote underwater operated vehicle,” Zlomek said. “So, that we just had a competition, we got first overall. We did some programming with joysticks. We are probably going to focus a lot on some particular event and try and do really well in that or as well as we can. The robot arm, it was going quite well and we got second place in regionals.”

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Science Olympiad team is blowing away the competition