By Colin Capece ’18
If there is one word to describe the attitude surrounding the S.T.E.M. program at Chaminade, this would be it. With the school’s new iPad initiative, as well as the continued progress on the new science building on campus, the school has immersed itself in the technological age and is committed to creating an atmosphere that will breed future leaders in the scientific community. However, the Chaminade Science Olympiad team also deserves its share of credit for amplifying this buzz.
Last March, the club’s varsity team placed eighth out of the 54 teams that qualified for the New York State Science Olympiad C Division Competition at LeMoyne College in Syracuse. Considering that there is a total of 411 teams in the state, this finish established Chaminade’s Olympiad team as one of the strongest programs in New York. Last year’s team was led by an incredible group of seniors who served as mentors to the younger members of the club. The seniors of 2016 left a legacy that will be difficult for the current senior class and underclassmen to beat. However, this year’s group took a huge leap in the right direction with its performance at the Cornell University Division C Science Olympiad Invitational.
Out of 51 teams who came from across the country to compete, including Florida’s nationally ranked Boca Raton Community High School, Chaminade’s Team A placed 13th. This was one spot ahead of cross-town rival Kellenberg’s varsity squad. Chaminade’s Team B also finished in a respectable 30th place.
A number of students earned medals for their top-five finishes in their respective events. Joseph Graham ’17 and Nicholas Sathi ’20 had a stellar performance in Robot Arm, as their creation propelled them into second place. The building duo of Kenneth Pham ’18 and Piero Salas-Allende ’18 achieved third place in Helicopters and fifth in Robot Arm. Seniors Justin Knowles and Matthew Mullin came in fifth in Anatomy and Physiology, and sophomores Nicholas Newton and Dylan Richardson made a strong impression by coming in second in Herpetology. Knowles and co-president Jack Bauer ’17 topped off the day with a first-place medal in the new event Fermi Questions.
The Flyers had been preparing since September for this first tournament of the season, and the hard work culminated in an encouraging performance on Saturday. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year,” said club vice president Nicholas Plante ’18. “Since one of the best senior classes that our Science Olympiad program has ever seen just graduated, we had our work cut out for us this season. This finish proves that we can take what we learned from last year’s senior class and continue our success on such a high level of competition.”
Science Olympiad moderator Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93 was also incredibly pleased with the effort both of his teams put forth. “I was very happy with where we placed,” said Bro. Ben. “There were a number of nationally ranked team at this invitational, so I was hoping to finish around 15th. Our guys should be very proud to have earned 13th place. You never know what to expect really from the first tournament of the season, but the students responded to the pressures of the competition very well.”
The future certainly seems to be very bright for this young, ambitious group of Flyers. Chaminade will look to continue the momentum they have built at next Saturday’s Islip Invitational.