LAKE PLACID - A group of Lake Placid High School students are heading for the Olympiad. No not the 2014 Sochi Winter Games - they've been competing in the Science Olympiad, a national science and engineering competition in which more than 5,000 schools participate.
After taking home several medals, including two gold, in the Adirondack Regional Science Olympiad tournament Feb. 2 at Clarkson University in Potsdam, the students from Lake Placid will be moving ahead to the state finals March 9 in Central Valley to compete against other regional champions.
""It's a big deal," science teacher Frank Brunner said at a recent Lake Placid School Board of Education meeting. "Hundreds of thousands of students participate every year from throughout the country.
The members of the science club at the Lake Placid Middle High School meet regularly in preparation for the Science Olympiad. Here they take a break from their projects to pose. Pictured is Emily Eaton, Nina Armstrong, Laycee Peters, David Knapik, Alex Carkner, Cody Barry, Billy Bellos and Michael Buckley.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
"I am thrilled with the response that we've had here at Lake Placid and even more thrilled with what these guys and girls have been doing at the Olympiad."
In this, its first year of competition, the Lake Placid High School team took the team bronze medal and brought home the third place overall trophy. Twelve teams competed at the regionals, including Plattsburgh (first place), Potsdam (second place), Thousand Islands, Northeastern Clinton, Madrid-Waddington and Chateaugay.
On the Lake Placid team were: Emily Eaton, Alex Carkner, Julianna Matos, Hanna Potter, Billy Bellos, Phil Koenig, Dean Ridenour, Teresa Smith, Laycee Peters, Cody Barry, Michael Buckley, David Knapik, Forrest Ledger and Nina Armstrong.
Event medalists were:
Gold medals: Forestry, Laycee Peters and Hanna Potter; Experimental Design, Hanna Potter and Julianna Matos
Silver medals: Technical Problem Solving, David Knapik and Billy Bellos; Robot Arm, Alex Carkner and Billy Bellos; Magnetic Levitation vehicle and theory, Dean Ridenour and Phil Koenig
Bronze medal: Boomilever, Phil Koenig and Alex Carkner
Most of the engineering events require the students to work on a project all year and then bring it to the regional tournament to compete against other teams's devices. When the News visited the school to get a photo, science club members were gathered in Room 300 - after school.
About half of the science events require the students to conduct laboratory experiments, while the other half of the science events are traditional pen-and-paper tests - and students always compete together with a partner.
Science Olympian, and LPHS student, Billy Bellos said it's an honor to represent Lake Placid in the Olympiad.
"The best part of representing Lake Placid in the Science Olympiad was being able to create something, and then see how it does against all of the other schools in the area," Bellos said. "I was proud to represent my school and win two silver medals for Robotic Arm and Technical Problem Solving.
But this program also demonstrates that learning can be fun.
"It was a lot of fun designing, testing, redesigning, and testing the robotic arm," he said. "I also learned a lot about circuitry and electricity."