Hamilton High School students place sixth at State Science Olympiad

2011-12-14T20:38:00Z Hamilton High School students place sixth at State Science OlympiadBy DAVID ERICKSON - Ravalli Republic Ravalli Republic
December 14, 2011 8:38 pm  • 

From the laws of thermodynamics to the theories of epidemiology, students at Hamilton High School are no slouches when it comes to scientific knowledge.

On Wednesday, the school learned that the Hamilton team placed sixth out of 42 schools at the State Science Olympiad earlier this year. The olympiad is a written exam that tests students' knowledge in particular areas of expertise.

The team is coached by Hamilton science teachers Tom Schmit and Marie Antonioli.

"We had a good year," Schmit said. "We've had a series of really strong years and this is no exception. There were a lot of high schools participating, more than usual, and we did really well."

Schmit said the Hamilton students learned the rules in the second week of October, giving them about five weeks to prepare for the test.

"We kind of had to hit the ground running," he said.

Sam Kern and Marie Feldman took the bronze medal in the epidemiology event, while Collin Johns and Gina Schmit took bronze in optics. Tess and Nial Gallagher-Clancy took fifth in forestry, while Kern and Sam Parker took fifth in "Gravity Vehicle." Nial Gallagher-Clancy and Marie Feldman took fourth in microbiology, and Natalie Bremmer and Kyle Lubke took seventh in thermodynamics. Whitney Cleveland and Gina Schmit took eighth in tower engineering, and Sam Couch and Sam Parker took ninth in astronomy. Other students who contributed to the overall team score were Julian Kimball, Erica Huppert and Kelsey Pitzinger.

Schmit said the students had to immerse themselves in the particular areas of study.

"The epidemiology event, for example, is called Disease Detectives," Schmit said. "They have to understand the concepts of infectious disease, everything from containment of a pandemic to the biology of diseases. All the principles that go along with the public health aspect of a disease. It's pretty wide open. A lot of times they will offer a historic example, like last year they focused on a salmonella outbreak."

Schmit said that the school is only allowed to have 15 members on the team, and they have to work hard to make the cut.

"This is a nice opportunity for kids to interact with kids at other schools," he said.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.


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