Voyagers sweep Kauai Olympiad

PUHI — Brendan Brun was tentative about undoing the protective wrapping cradling the fresh egg Saturday at the Kauai Community College.

He carefully peeled off the cardboard and paper toweling layers, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“It survived,” the St. Theresa’s School student said, holding up the intact egg that survived a bottle rocket launch that cavorted through a more horizontal than vertical trajectory before coming to a hard landing as supporters and future launchers watched silently.

The St. Theresa’s team was one of five middle school teams and three high school teams participating in the 9th annual Kauai Regional Science Olympiad of the Hawaii State Science Olympiad at the Kauai Community College.

“The Science Olympiad connects up-and-coming scientists with established scientists with KauaiCC acting as the go-between,” said Ryand Girard, the HSSO Kauai regional director. “The fact that more than 80 middle school and high school students gave up a Saturday of a long weekend to do science is inspiring and a big reason the community rallies around this tournament.”

A meteorologist from the National Weather Service, the chief of the county’s Wastewater Management Division the Kauai Invasive Species Committee and KauaiCC chemists, engineers, and biologists were on hand, running events.

Following the series of 13 events for each division, the Island School Voyagers topped both the high school and middle school divisions and will be representing Kauai at the state tournament on March 4 on Oahu.

Each team can have up to 15 students.

“There were 30 students who were willing to give up their after-school to learn science,” said Bruce Hogue, coach of the Island School Gold Team which finished second in the overall competition. “How can you deny students who want to learn?”

St. Catherine School also fielded two teams for the Kauai regional event, and will be sending one team to Oahu with the Island School middle school team.

“I love how this event challenges students to think differently,” said Lei Taber, mother of Megan Aiu-Taber who participated with one of two St. Catherine School teams. “This is a great opportunity for hands-on learning. Students learn better when they have the chance to apply what they learn.”

The public had an opportunity to watch the teams in action in four events, including the Bottle Rockets, Helicopter, the Electric Vehicle, and Towers, where balsa towers created by student teams would be tested for its weight ratio support capabilities.

Sarah Thompson of Beck’s Hybrids, a volunteer with the HSSO, said it is the biggest competition of any county in the state, with 26 events between two divisions.

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