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Science Wizzes! Seven Bridges M.S. Science Olympiad Team Returning to National Tourney

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The students that are part of Seven Bridges Middle School’s state champion Science Olympiad team. For the second year in a row, they earne a berth in the national competition along with about 60 other middle schools across the nation.

The 15 members and three alternates that are part of Chappaqua’s Seven Bridges Middle School’s Science Olympiad team are an impressive group, with their grasp of a wide range of sciences coupled with work ethic and commitment.

But don’t discount great teamwork. The students generally work in pairs, and being able to trust your partner is essential.

“I think for all of them effective communication is really important because you’re working with a partner, so it’s important to delegate, to know who’s doing what and what each person brings to it,” said Jenny Gieras, who with Skye Albert-Hall are two teachers who have helped guide the students

For the second year in a row, Seven Bridges will be sending a team to the national Science Olympiad competition to be held later this month at Michigan State University. The school’s Team A finished first among 40 middle school teams, which had earned their way to the state finals in Syracuse on Apr. 5-6 with impressive performances at regionals.

In Syracuse, Team A finished first with 86 points the best total during an in-person state tournament in 20 years. (In 2020 and 2021, it was held virtually because of the pandemic.)

Last year, Seven Bridges finished second in the state, which was good enough to make it to nationals because larger states generally send their top two teams. Last Tuesday, they were honored during a New Castle Town Board meeting.

A love of science, of course, is a prerequisite to be successful, in part due to an estimated six hours a week each member dedicates to the team – on top of their regular school work – during the season. The season extends from about early December through May, now that Seven Bridges will be in the nationals.

Tanish Myanampati is one of the team members motivated to do well by his love of science.

“I wanted to do more, and I feel like with the team it’s really special, it’s like a connection between members of the team that love to succeed,” Mayanampati said.

During each competition there are 23 events, with most team members participating in three events and a few taking on a fourth, in an assortment of topics that include meteorology, ecology, fossils, anatomy and many others. Competitions contain build events that require the students to do construction as well as more conventional test-taking.

Taking their preparation time seriously is a key component.

“I think we’re all very eager to do well, so we all try to do what we can to do as best as we can in the competition,” said team member Chelsea Ng. “So it’s really based on how well you want to do.”

One of the advantages for the team that is headed to Michigan for the two-day national tournament that starts on May 24 is the experience gained last year. At least half of the current team was part of the trip to nationals in 2023.

They also participated in a full schedule of invitationals this season, along with the regionals, which helped get them competition-ready to take on some of the best schools in New York, Albert-Hall said.

“One thing that I think also helped this team be so successful this year, is because they’ve done so many events, they’ve gone to in-person invitationals, and then, of course, there were the regionals and the states,” he said. “They bring that experience and seeing what it’s like and they know how to get better, (which) obviously they did every step of the way.”

“We know what to expect now, but it also was really good experience last year,” said Avika Goel, another team member. “So it motivated us to do better this year.”

Albert-Hall said with this being the eighth year of the school’s Science Olympiad program, there has been a steady improvement in the results. While the competition is tech Seven Bridges only uses students in grades 6-8 involved and even younger children to help them prepare down the road.

More than 60 students participated on four teams from the school this season.

Some of the seventh-graders will be the team leaders next year, said Seven Bridges Principal Dr. Lauralyn Stewart. Stewart also pointed to teamwork as a special quality.

“I think what sets this group a little bit apart is that communication and camaraderie,” she said. “They’ve been working incredibly hard all the way since the fall and this is not just, okay, at nationals we’ll practice. I’m tremendously impressed.”

The other team members are Amy Qui, Cami Gomez, Lucas Zhang, Luke Thomas, Roma Huggahalli, Victoria Cheng, Vyom Bhuwan, Yuan Fan, Zachary Gibbs, Agastya Bordawekar, Eli Giltman and Harrison Regan. Alex Co, Noel McIssac and Olivia Cheng are the alternates.





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