March 2, 2013

Science Olympiad team hopes for second victory


---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School District’s Middle School Science Olympiad team is gearing up for its own competition.

The group, comprising 12 students in grades seven and eight, will head to SUNY Potsdam today to compete in the middle-school-level regional Science Olympiad.

The team had its first showing in the regional tournament last year, coming in first place.

“We’re hoping for that again this year,” said Plattsburgh High School chemistry and biology teacher Sonal Patel-Dame, who coaches the group.

Events featured in the middle-school Olympiad cover the same diverse areas of science and technology as in the high-school competition. In order to do well, middle-school teams must possess knowledge that would typically be learned in high school.

“The middle-school kids still have to compete at a really high level,” Patel-Dame said.

Since September, eighth-grader Saana Teittinen-Gordon and seventh-grader Zoya Qudsi have been preparing for the regional tournament’s “Sounds of Music” event, for which the pair is required to build two musical instruments, one in bass clef and the other in treble clef.

Teittinen-Gordon has built a marimba out of wood, while Qudsi used PVC pipe to construct a pan flute. The duo will use the instruments to play two live musical pieces together at the upcoming competition. They will also be asked to take a test on the physics of sound.

“I hope that all our hard work pays off,” Teittinen-Gordon said.

Should the Middle School team do well enough at the regional tournament, they will travel to Syracuse University on April 12 and 13 to compete against about 40 other schools in the State Science Olympiad.

Besides Teittinen-Gordon and Qudsi, the team members are Brooke Kelley, Lucas Micheels, Alex Puchalski, Ian Salvamoser, Connor Cota, Kiernan Fischer, Rory Fischer, Chet Guenther, Ben Ouellette, Sam Schantz.

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