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Bessemer competes at state Science Olympiad


May 12, 2018

Submitted photo

The Bessemer Junior and High School teams recently competed in the state Science Olympiad in Lansing. The teams, gathered here on the state House floor in the capitol, include, from left: first row, Zach Baross, Roman Pionk and Jack Nyquist; second row, Vai Triggiano, Eliza Stone, Byron Hooyman, Mason Pionk, Hannah Cebolski, Sydney Wittla-Sprague, Hannah Janczak, Vinnie Triggiano, Rachel Nyquist, Janelle Lekies, Natalie Stone, Abbey Johnson, Lori Maki and Isaak Fyle; and third row, Uriah Aili, Tad Rowe, Jared Janczak, Andy Aspinwall, Tim Rowe, Camy Lake, Kailyn Fingeroos, House Clerk Rich Brown, Teddy Wittla-Sprague, Connor Fingeroos, Jaakob Fyle, Jack Matrella and Isaiah Aili.

LANSING - Twenty-nine students from Bessemer recently competed in the state Science Olympiad tournament in Lansing.

Both the junior and senior high teams qualified for the tournament by placing well at the regional tournament held at Northern Michigan University in Marquette in February.

At the state tournament, Bessemer competed against 60 teams to see which would win the tournament and advance to the national tournament. In the end, the Bessemer's high school team finished 40th and the junior high team finished in 44th.

"The students really did well at the tournament," said coach Tracy Rowe. "The students from Bessemer are generalists. They are our two and three sport athletes, our musicians, our math team and our Quiz Bowl Team."

"These students wear many hats and they are very busy. For these kids to do as well as they did at this level says a great deal about their hard work and the hard work and dedication of the many volunteer coaches," said fellow coach Dave Rowe.

"Accepting the invitation to attend a state tournament is never an easy one because it requires a great deal of organizational work, fundraising and it requires the students to commit to an additional two months of practice and study before leaving for the tournament," Tracy Rowe said. "However, learning is never wasted and the students get to participate on a larger stage and experience a trip that they will remember for the rest of their life."

In addition to the tournament, the students and chaperones toured the state capitol where House Clerk Rich Brown gave the students a special VIP tour.

On the trip home, the Bessemer contingent stopped in Sault Ste. Marie to visit Lake Superior State University, have lunch and tour the Aquatic Research Laboratory.

"Roger Greil, the Aquatic Lab manager and Bessemer alumnus, has been working with Bessemer students for many years to help with our local pond project and when he heard that we were headed for Lansing, he invited us over for a tour and lunch," Dave Rowe said. "Students were able to see how the hatchery worked and students were able to help with the real science of measuring and clipping fins on Atlantic Salmon at the hatchery."

In summing up the three-day experience, parent and coach Paul Janczak said, "Today the students competed for medals and tomorrow they will compete for jobs. Hard work and stiff competition prepares these students for the future."

From a student's perspective, sixth grader Vinnie Triggiano said, "I feel honored to have been able to go down state to do the things that I like to do. Science Olympiad did not disappoint me in any way imaginable."

"If I was given the chance I would do it all again," said seventh grader Natalie Stone.

Sophomore Hannah Janczak said, "This past weekend was an experience I'll never forget. All in all, Science Olympiad is the highlight of my high school career."

"Being a part of a Science Olympiad team that goes to state and competes has been such a cool experience. There really is nothing like it," added fellow sophomore Hannah Cebolski.

"I met many great people and learned lots of new things from them," said junior Abbey Johnson. "It was great to be reminded that the world is much bigger than Gogebic County and going to Lansing certainly put that into perspective."

Senior Tim Rowe, who has been competing in Science Olympiad since the sixth grade, summed up the feelings of many when he said, "I like that we get to learn science with our friends and be united as a team."

The Rowes agreed that opportunities like this tournament are incredibly valuable, but none of this would have happened without the many volunteer coaches and the financial support of the community, adding they're grateful to be in a community that values children and supports education.

The students worked in pairs and they all made meaningful contributions with a combined total of 46 problems, according to the coaches.

Among the top finishers in the Junior High Division for Bessemer were: Microbe Mission, Vinnie Triggiano and Jangle Lekies, 12th; Battery Buggy, Janellle Lekies and Tyler Baross, 15th; Roller Coaster, Roman Pionk and Natalie Stone, 21st; Road Scholar, Natalie Stone and Teddy Wittla-Sprague, 28th; and Herpetology, Jaakob Fyle and Jack Matrella, 28th.

Top performers in the High School Division for Bessemer included: Optics, Byron Hooyman and Mason Pionk, 15th; Write it Do it, Vai Triggiano and Abbey Johnson, 16th; Mouse Trap Vehicle, Jared Janczak and Hannah Janczak, 20th; and Source Code-Python Programming, Byron Hooyman and Tim Rowe, 22nd.


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