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Turlock Christian tests their science know-how at annual competition
Turlock Christian High School students pose with their mousetrap vehicle, which won first place at this year’s Science Olympiad on Saturday at California State University, Stanislaus. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal
Teenagers wearing lab coats and protective goggles invaded the campus of California State University, Stanislaus on Saturday. They were all competing for top honors in the 24th annual Stanislaus County Science Olympiad.
The annual competition pits high school students against each other in scientific competitions, such as identifying unknown chemicals through reactions, building elevated bridges, and protecting an egg strapped to a bottle rocket.
In all, 14 high schools and 13 middle schools and junior high schools were represented at the Science Olympiad. Some schools had enough student participants to create more than one team. Turlock Christian School students formed teams in both divisions this year.
“There seem to be more people than there were last year,” said Connor Behlen, a Turlock Christian School Student. Behlen participated in Ornithology (the study of birds) and forensic events.
The overall winner for the high school division was Oakdale High School’s gold team.
Turlock Christian High School took seventh place overall out of 19 teams. Turlock Christian’s Garret Allison and Morgan Mcintire took first place in the Mousetrap Vehicle contest. They built their own four-wheel vehicle that was propelled forward and backward by mousetraps. Mcintire and Allison also took second place in Tech Problem Solving. Loretta Lane and Evelyn Khoo took third place in Disease Detective. Nam Kim and Vicky Zylstra took third in the Elevated Bridge competition. Kim and team member Hyewon Lee also took second place in Environmental Chemistry.
“I’m really pleased with the kids,” said Judy Johnson, Turlock Christian High School Science Olympiad advisor.
Johnson said that the students have been preparing for Science Olympiad outside of class time once a month since October. Events where students had to build something for the competition, such as Mouse Trap Vehicle and Elevated bridge took the longest.
“Whenever you have that sort of construction device it takes a lot longer to prepare,” Johnson said.
Some events were open to the public and other students to watch. The “Egg O Naut” event drew a large crowd of spectators to the CSU Stanislaus soccer field. Students in this competition launched a bottle rocket with an egg attached. They got points for how high the rocket went, and also how well they protected the egg using a parachute or some other landing gear.
One team from Downy High School in Modesto watched as their bottle soared up in the air, their parachute released, and the egg basket came floating gently to the ground. Their hopes were smashed seconds later, however, when their egg landed on top of the parachute with a resounding “splat.”
That is the norm for Science Olympiad, where students spend months preparing for one moment where everything could go wrong. Turlock Christian students took it all in stride, and they were proud of their 7th place ranking.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.