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GVSU Hosts 34th Science Olympiad: Over 1000 Compete

Grand Valley State University arch photo

More than one-thousand local middle and high school students will spend March 17th building bottle rockets, constructing hovercrafts, solving crimes and a lot more at the 34th annual Region 12 Science Olympiad tournament. The competition, presented by Grand Valley State University's Regional Math and Science Center is in its 34th year.

“They compete in anything from astronomy to towers, mission possible, and it’s to build their understanding of science in an extra-curricular way, in a competitive manner and they have a chance to win some awards.”

That’s Chelsea Ridge the co-director of the Region 12 Science Olympiad Tournament.  She says Grand Valley State University is in its 34th year as host of the annual Science Olympiad tournament.  She says more than a thousand middle and high school students from 60 schools across West Michigan, will take to the Allendale campus to compete. Students will showcase their knowledge in biology, earth science chemistry and the like during the contests.

Ridge says the goal of the competition is to broaden student’s understanding of the STEM fields.

“Our opportunities allow them to dig a little deeper… broaden their knowledge base, learn a new skill that might not be offered in a traditional classroom but something that they’re really interested in and can and passionate about.”

Ridge says there are a lot of events and it’s hard to pick a favorite, but she says she’s looking forward to some new challenges for the students.

“There’s a roller coaster event that’s new this year.  I’m interested to see what the middle school students do with that.  It’s supposed to be extremely creative, because what a roller coaster looks like to you will be a lot different than my roller coaster, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Science Olympiad Tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on March 17th at GVSU. Ridge says they will send eight high school teams and 12 middle school teams on to the State competition, April 28th, with the hope of someone moving on to Nationals. 

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.