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Middle School Science Olympians Excel at State Competition

In just their second season, 20 Middle Schoolers from the Science Olympiad team—led by science teacher Debra Tambor and math teacher Payal Patel—worked diligently from October to March to prepare for the 25 science and technology events they would face in upcoming competitions. At the regional competition in January, the team earned enough points to advance to the state tournament, which took place on March 8 at Middlesex County College.

There, the students medaled in 10 of the 25 events, including third-place finishes in Crime Busters and Green Generation; fourth-place medals in Food Science, Mission Possible, and Scrambler; a fifth-place award in Bottle Rocket; and sixth-place medals in Bio-Blitz, Bridge Building, Meteorology, and Wind Power. Of 26 teams at the competition, Pingry science Olympians placed sixth overall, up from their ninth place last year. During morning meeting on April 4, they presented their trophy to Middle School Director Mr. Cox.

Six months of hard work led them to their achievement—they studied independently and with their teammates, designed and built their devices, and worked with adult mentors to assist them in their preparations.

At a recent Science Olympiad celebration, Miro Bergam, a returning ninth grader (the team is permitted to have up to five ninth graders), remarked, "Science Olympiad was my introduction to high school science." Similarly, Felicia Ho '19 said, "Science Olympiad helped take my science career to the next level—electron energy level." Rising Olympian Natalie DeVito '22: "As a sixth grader starting at Pingry, Science Olympiad has given me many lasting friendships with seventh and eighth graders that I would not have met otherwise." Seventh grader Alesia Paliwoda: "Science Olympiad helped push me to learn about topics I may not have learned about in school."

On Saturday, April 16, at Pingry's annual Research Exhibit—traditionally geared to Upper School students—the Middle School Science Olympiad team will proudly showcase a display and answer questions about their work and achievements.

Much effort went into Science Olympiad this season, a great deal was learned, and many were inspired to pursue their interest in science, in the Middle School and beyond.

Congratulations Olympians!

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,