For years, preparing for and competing in the NC Science Olympiad has been an annual springtime activity for several of Henderson County Public Schools’ middle and high schools. This year, one elementary school joined in – for the first time ever – and placed 6th overall.
On March 23, Hendersonville Elementary’s inaugural NC Science Olympiad Team competed against 12 other schools from across the region in 18 different challenges during the regional event at Charles D. Owen High in Asheville.
“Imagine the Olympics, but with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenges,” said April Summey, AIG specialist and HES’ Science Olympiad team leader.
“The competition requires students to excel at a variety of STEM tasks including constructing pasta towers that hold weight, building water bottle rockets, tests of science knowledge on energy, ecology, data, weather, body systems, rocks as well as coding – just to name a few,” Summey said.
In their first showing at the annual event, Hendersonville Elementary’s team managed to place 6th place overall, placed in seven events, and snagged 14 individual student awards. This year’s team consisted of 3rd graders Sofia Hernandez Zamora, Kole Kelley, Grant Palmer, and Lilah Pitt; 4th-graders Maleia Eldreth, Bianca Fortney, David Summey, and Sara Walton; and 5th-graders Jaden Evans, Xavier Garcia, Camrie Greer, Sharrod Gunderson, Rodney Hays, Kaleb Kimball, Henry Knox, Addison Meyers, John Trace, Maggie Walton, and Jenna Worley.
Meyers and Trace took 1st Place in the “Weather Permitting” event; Walton and Knox took 2nd Place in “Pro Gamers,” and Walton also 4th Place in “Body Builders” with Hernandez Zamora; Fortney and Eldreth took 2nd Place in “Planet Protectors,” and Eldreth also took 2nd Place in “Rock Stars” with Summey; Kelley and Greer took 3rd Place in “Energy Matters”; Pitt and Worley took 4th Place in “Ecology Experts.”
“At Hendersonville Elementary, we are focused on STEM initiatives and activities because they help increase critical thinking and problem solving skills,” said April Summey. “They also help connect our NC Standard Courses of Study to the real world – and students love them.”
“Starting a Science Olympiad team at Hendersonville Elementary has been a fantastic learning experience for all of the students and teachers involved,” April Summey said. “We are looking forward to preparing and challenging ourselves again next year for the competition!”