Kumpf Science Olympiad Team Among Top Schools at State Tournament

Science Olympiads make it to States

Clark Public Schools

Carl H. Kumpf Middle School’s Science Olympiad team achieved 8th place against 18 other schools at the NJIT Regional Tournament on Friday, January 12th, becoming a top school to compete at the State Tournament. According to soinc.org, “Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is the premier team STEM competition in the nation, providing standards-based challenges to 6,000 teams at 425 tournaments in all 50 states.”

The students on the team prepared for many weeks to compete in Science and Engineering competitions. This includes building and testing events such as Trajectory, Flight, Tower, Roller Coaster, and Wheeled Vehicle. Academic events include Fast Facts, Forestry, Write It Do It, Anatomy and Physiology, and more.

Kumpf’s team was awarded Bronze Medals in 3 events: Tower, Write It Do It, and Roller Coaster.

Mia Liu and Sophia Kim worked together to build and test a tower made of balsa wood and glue to be able to hold 15 kg of sand. Mia stated, “We tested many towers and they kept breaking. Even after getting bronze on the Tower competition, I knew we could do better. We know what we need to do and our goal is to place again at States.”

Write It Do It, competed by twins Justin and Tyler Wojcik, is an event with one student building an object with only the other students’ description of it. The twins added, “We were very excited because our goal was to place and get a medal to help our team. We had fun working and practicing leading up to the event.”

Gabriel Cai and Lucas Elizondo built a roller coaster that was created to manipulate a marble to go down the handcrafted pathways within a certain amount of time. Cai described his experience, “It was a unique challenge to work on the roller coaster because we had to solve problems, come up with ideas, and implement them carefully to create a final product that gave the best result.”. 

Coaches Matthew Serwedes, Joe Rodriguez, Annemarie Lamberti, and Thomas Peitz attended the Regionals at NJIT with the Kumpf Science Olympiad team. After the events, the coaches and the team felt confident that they did well and were eager to await the results from the Science Olympiad judges. 

Matthew Serwedes, head coach as well as Wheeled Vehicle and Write It Do It coach, stated, “The Science Olympiad tournaments have always been such great opportunities to showcase the many diverse STEM abilities of our students. The tournaments also give our students a chance to see other great schools in the state and to connect with their peers in the STEM community.”

Thomas Peitz, Tower coach, reflects, “We all had a strong feeling that we were going to make it to States, and because our students now had competition experience, they became increasingly enthusiastic and were very excited to get back to the drawing board.” 

Annemarie Lamberti, Anatomy and Physiology, Crime Busters, Ecology, and Roller Coaster coach, adds, “The students worked hard to prepare for their events, so I am extremely happy that all their effort was recognized. In addition, their sportsmanship towards other schools, and support for their own peers made us coaches proud that they represented Kumpf at this competition”.

Joe Rodriguez, Air Trajectory, Forestry, Flight and Optics coach, says “Events like this allow our students to go out and be among students with the same passion they have, and be able to understand how hard work can pay off.  Words cannot express the joy we have watching them compete, and knowing they have done all this work and are putting it all on the line for themselves and our school”. 

The New Jersey Science Olympiad State Tournament will be held at Middlesex County College on March 14, 2024.

The following students participated: Mia Liu, Kaja Hajduk, Gabriel Cai, Christopher Brand, Eeshan Dixit, Aiden Krauss, Connor Gordon, Tyler Wojcik, Justin Wojcik, Suhani Shah, Lucas Elizondo, Sophia Kim, Isabella Reyes, and Fiona Genova.

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