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Branch County Science Olympiad gets boost from Community Foundation grant


BRONSON, MI (WTVB) - You just never know…maybe a budding Noble Prize winner in our midst. Potential greatness could be showcased next month as Branch County students participate in the Elementary Science Olympiad and organizers with the ESO say thanks to the Branch County Community Foundation and its generous grant award of $1,000.  Students in grades three through six are gearing up for the ESO to be held on Saturday March 23rd hosted by the Bronson Junior/Senior High School.

This year the Science Olympiad brings together students from across the county to compete in 29 science-related events as a supplement to the school district’s science curriculum.  Students choose from a menu of individual and team offerings that test a wide array of science areas such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, forensics, anatomy, and astronomy.    Students prepare for an ESO by studying the skeletal system for the A is for Anatomy event, charting objects in the night sky for the Starry, Starry Night event, or by testing the launch capabilities of a home-built catapult in the Tennis Ball Catapult event.    Administrators, educators, and volunteers serve as event captains and coaches from all local districts.

The goals of the Science Olympiad are to bring science to life, to emphasize problem solving and understanding science concepts, to develop teamwork and cooperation, and provide recognition for student achievements. During this year’s planning session, the ESO was consolidated with events ending one hour earlier than in the past. Spectators can view events taking place in the gymnasium throughout the day beginning at 9:30 a.m.  The astronomy event will take place in Coldwater at the Legg Middle School planetarium.  Olympic-style medals for place winners and acknowledgements will be given at the awards ceremony held in the Bronson High School gym near 1:30 p.m. when all events have been scored.

The ESO has been held annually for 23 years in Branch County, with Nancy Yager of Legg Middle School serving as director, and Cristy Nagle as assisting coordinator.  Much appreciation goes to the many educators who have served over the years, and especially to those who have longevity including Helyn Castle and Bill Earl of the BACC; Michelle Bender, Amy Forster, Randy Knowles, Neva Lounds, Andy Rossow, Ila Schroll, Theresa Wilson of Coldwater; Bonnie Plodzik, Joni Siler and Jacque Thatcher of Bronson; Rob Evans and Dana Clark of Quincy; and retired Quincy teachers Mary Ellen Newton and Mary Carlisle. Gratitude is also extended to Karen Sobeske and the BACC Education Academy students for their on-going assistance, to the Criminal Justice class, as well as to the Bronson Music Boosters for food service, and to long-time community volunteer Earl Nagle.