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SEMS Science Olympiad team ready to compete this weekend
0311 sems Science Olympiad
Members of the South Effingham Middle School Science Olympiad team took first place in the regional competition at Douglas last month and will travel to Augusta State University for Saturday's state level competition. - photo by Photo provided

South Effingham Middle School will compete at the Georgia State Science Olympiad Tournament, to be held at Augusta State University on March 12.

The Mustang team took first place at the regional competition held at South Georgia College in Douglas on Feb. 12, thereby earning an invitation to the state tournament. The team medaled in 20 out of 23 events with all students on the team bringing home at least two medals each.

Science Olympiad is a national organization dedicated to improving education by fostering a passion for science among students. Its success is dependent on creating links between community resources, parents and the school. Improving curriculum and providing recognition for scientific achievement are goals of the program. Locally, Georgia Pacific Corporation is a major supporter of the program by providing coaches and funding.

Events include a combination of building, lab demonstration, technology, and testing competitions. Building events include Towers, Storm the Castle, Battery Buggy, and Bottle Rockets. Lab demonstration events include Can’t Judge a Powder, Awesome Aquifers, Microbe Mission, Shock Value, Write It Do It, Junkyard Challenge, and Optics; as well as Crime Busters where students must conduct tests and correctly identify liquid and solid materials found in a crime. Experimental Design is another lab-based event that determines a team’s ability to design, conduct and report findings of an experiment. Students also compete in study/testing events such as Anatomy, Fossils, Meteorology, Solar System, Road Scholar, Ecology and Dynamic Planet. The technology-based event included Compute This.

The SEMS team is comprised of students in grades 6-8: Nicholas Hobbs, Cory Saxton, Allison Jodrey, Jessica Oberlander, Savannah Strojny, Sydney Giles, Charlie Westerfield, Alex Jonas, India Nelson, Connor Croasmun, Connor Cremo, Harrold Wheeler and Daniel Mundy.

Shelly Hobbs coordinates the SEMS program. Coaches for the team are: from Georgia Pacific — Allison Selk, Alan Boyd, Abdul Salvador, Jim Ramp, Seth Pierson, Todd Moody, Jason Vance, Sam Papa; from the Warnell Forestry Center — Gail Lutowski; from SEMS — Joan Hightower, Carla Dean, Katy Morgan and Shelly Hobbs; from SEHS — Selina Jonas; parent helpers — Amanda Westerfield, Jeffrey Jonas and Jeff Cremo.