The Wayne Highlands Middle School Science Olympiad team spent an exciting weekend at the State Competition.

On the night before the competition, the students took a tour of Penn State's-Main Campus by former Science Olympiad member and Honesdale High School graduate Ryan Fritz. Ryan, an engineering student in the Honors College, set up a campus tour with a focus on the sciences ending with a visit to the famous Berkey Creamery and the Lion Shrine.

On Saturday, the team traveled to Juniata College for the big event with their coaches Kelly O’Neill, Chris Piasecki, and Ernie Griffis.

The students, a group of 14 in grades 6th through 9th, worked hard all day competing against the top 36 middle school teams in the state. The team has been working together since the beginning of November, preparing two to three days a week. Many of the members also participate in various other clubs, organizations, and sports teams.

The competition involved competing in 23 events across all disciplines of science. Students are typically in groups of two or three and compete in three to five events.

All 23 events must have participants from the team, and the placings in each event are combined to give a total team score. The content that they are required to know, work with, and analyze is much higher than anything a middle school student would ever encounter in the standard curriculum.

Zack Wilken, an 8th grader on the team, stated, “I like learning about new things and meeting new people who are interested in the same things as me at the competition.” Zack, along with Samantha Howey and John Rodriguez came away with a 3rd place medal in Experimental Design, and many others placed in the top half. Congratulations to all team members on a great finish to the season!

Top finishers were:

•Samantha Howey, John Rodriguez, and Zack Wilken placed 3rd in Experimental Design

•Elizabeth Kowalczyk and Samantha Howey placed 9th in Ecology

•Samantha Howey and Zack Wilken placed 9th in Microbe Mission

•Brooke Landers and Zack Wilken placed 10th in Road Scholar

•Soren Schachter and Jackson Landers placed 11th in Potions and Poisons

•Bryce Klinger and Joshua Clark placed 12th in Crime Busters

•Bryce Klinger and Zack Wilken placed 14th in Fast Facts

•Samantha Howey and Seth Gunuskey placed 14th in Herpetology

•John Rodriguez and JP Ahern placed 14th in Wright Stuff