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Columbia claims Science Olympiad championship

Sponsor Lisa Grice, back at center, hoists their 2017 Science Olympiad Championship trophy in the air as Columbia fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders show their excitement. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Columbia Elementary School students are deservedly showing their pride after winning the school’s first-ever championship in the Elementary Science Olympiad.

The Columbia Science Olympiad team seized their honor at Jacksonville High School on Feb. 18.

“In 2015, we prepared for the competition, but an ice storm hit the Tennessee Valley and prohibited us from traveling to the event. Although we were sad that we couldn’t compete, we were motivated even more to enter the 2016 competition. We placed fourth overall that year with many of our awesome kids receiving medals in most of the 28 events,” Lisa Grice said.

Grice sponsors the team and teaches fifth-grade science at Columbia. Neisha Magonigal is parent sponsor. “We couldn’t have done this without support of our Columbia family,” Grice said.

Science Olympiad, a national nonprofit organization, is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. Science Olympiad tournaments are academic interscholastic competitions with a series of individual and team events.

More than 50 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders are on Columbia’s Science Olympiad team. However, only 24 students could enter the tournament, so they cross-trained for various events. One month before the contest, they competed against each other to represent CES in Jacksonville.

Team members are fourth-grader Erik Wu; and fifth-graders Shreyas Acharya, Dan Ayala-Diaz, Will Bagwell, Elena Brough, Madison Campbell, Lauren Hewell, Nathan Mayfield, Lauren Merschat, Olivia N., Andy Park, Pranaav Satheesh, Neil Sethi, Kaitlyn Thompson and Caroline Votroubek.

From sixth grade, members are Neha Chopade, Puja Chopade, Yasha Daz, Yuti Daz, Lauren Evans, Parker Magonigal, Tucker Magonigal, Justin Pan, Pranav Ramesh, Soorya Ramesh, Neha Singhal, Shreya Sunil and Timothy Zhu.

In individual events, Columbia students claimed places in 18 of 28 events (alphabetically by project):

Bridging the Gap — Erik Wu, Tucker Magonigal, second; Calculator Contest — Neil Sethi, first; Crash Landing – Shreyas Acharya, Lauren Merschat, first; Dinosaurs and Disasters – Tucker Magonigal, Nathan Mayfield, sixth.

Don’t Bug Me – Pranaav Satheesh, Will Bagwell, fifth; Food for Thought – Parker Magonigal, Soorya Ramesh, third; Geometrics — Neha Singahl, Shreya Sunil, second; Going Green – Neha Chopade, Puja Chopade, second.

How Do You Spell Science? — Shreya Sunil, Pranav Ramesh, third; Infographics — Lauren Evans, Puja Chopade, third; It’s Elemental — Neha Singhal, Soorya Ramesh, third; No Bones About It — Will Bagwell, Neha Chopade, first.

Science Decades — Lauren Evans, Olivia N., second; Space Invaders —  Neil Sethi, Will Bagwell, first; Super Sleuths — Elena Brough, Neha Singhal, first; Triple Play — Pranav Ramesh, Soorya Ramesh, Dan Ayala-Diaz, first; Where in the World? — Neha Chopade, Puja Chopade, first; Which Way’s North? — Lauren Evans, Neil Sethi, second. 

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