For the second year in a row, the Rye Middle School Science Olympiad team will head to Syracuse with 15 of its members to compete in the state finals April 17 and 18.
By Sarah Varney
For the second year in a row, the Rye Middle School Science Olympiad team will head to Syracuse with 15 of its members to compete in the state finals April 17 and 18. In late February, the team finished 4th among 29 schools in the Lower Hudson competition, comprised of schools from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, and Orange counties. In 22 events, the team earned 16 medals. They also received the Spirit Award for demonstrating spirit and sportsmanship throughout the competition.
“Our goal is to finish in the top 20 overall,” said team advisor Sal Curella. Middle School Science teacher Julia Divi is co-advisor.
Curella and Julia Divi have a new strategy. “We’ll have each person focused on one event so that we can medal as much as possible.” Team members will compete in the areas of air trajectory; balsa gliders; wheeled vehicles; bridges; simple machines; levers, experimental design; anatomy; bioprocess labs; and green generation.
The Olympiads have also been working on an air cannon that shoots a ping-pong ball 25 feet. One of the requirements for the cannon is to use a pneumatic system to propel the ball. “It involved a lot of engineering. We thought we could build the barrel with a 3-D printer but that didn’t work out,” explained Curella.
The high school just received a 3-D printer built by Rye High alum Samantha Carter, the class of 2014. It will be used for Project Lead the Way and other science classes. It is situated in a special room in the Science Wing.
Rye High School’s Science Olympiad team also competed at a Lower Hudson Region meet, but finished out of the top five and won’t be among the those teams at state finals. They did bring home the gold however. Seniors Judson Ellis and Dan Philip won the top medal for their insect identification performance.
Students are busily developing software for various applications as well. RHS teacher Bruna Mascia is overseeing the work of more than a dozen students as they compete in the Westchester County Smart Mobile App Development Bowl, which started in late February. The challenge this year is for the students to develop apps that will improve life for people struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Contest winners will be announced on April 17.