Young scientists from Troy Howard Middle School recently showed teams from across the nation they are not only formidable competitors, but also work well as a team while also supporting their opponents.

The Troy Howard Middle School Science Olympiad Team, also known as the Maineiacs, earned the 2012 Middle School Spirit Award at the conclusion of the National Science Olympiad Tournament, an event that took place at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Maineiacs head coach Jacquie Kahn said the award is intended to honor the team for “exemplary sportsmanship, respect, attitude and teamwork,” and that the THMS scientists are the first to bring the honor home to Maine.

“This is the first time ever that a Maine team has won this award. The award, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, included a beautiful trophy and $2,000 check to be used toward furthering the school’s Science Olympiad program,” said Kahn.

Kahn said the youths left the Pine Tree State Thursday, May 17, to compete in the national science contest.

Our state championship team competed with 60 other teams from around the county in 23 events including bottle rocket, rocks and minerals, tower building, forestry, thermodynamics, storm the castle and more,” said Kahn in a recent news release. “Students worked from sunrise well into the evening over the course of this rigorous two-day event.”

Kahn said the opening ceremony began with George Diller, NASA Public Affairs
Information Specialist, telling students about the story of his career including space shuttle missions and the Mars Rover program. Forensic pathologist Jan C. Garavaglia, M.D., chief medical examiner for several counties in Florida and the host of the popular TV show “Dr. G: Medical Examiner,” followed as keynote speaker.

The Science Olympiad National Tournament is the pinnacle of achievement
for 120 of the country’s best Science Olympiad teams, Kahn said, and the tournament routinely attracts more than 2,000 students. Kahn added that it provides students with the opportunity to work on a college campus interacting with other scientifically minded students and professional scientists from around the county.

“The magnitude of the national tournament and impact that has on participants is difficult to describe, but any team member and parent will attest that it is truly a life-changing event for these young aspiring scientists,” stated Kahn.

Maineiac team members are Caleb Wallace, Jordon Bickford, Rick
Wyman, Nolan Woods, Allison Walker, Lucie Bonneville, Peter Spectre,
Leander Andrews, Hannah Greene, Zane Bielenberg, Jessica Clapp, and Katy
King, who serves as the team captain. While Kahn said all students competed admirably in their events, top scorers included: Bonneville and King in the competition, “Write it, Do it,” posting a 16th place win, and Wallace in “Thermodynamics,” snagging 24th place.

The team began its preparations in September, Kahn said.

Kahn and the Maineiacs offered a “huge thanks” to community mentors Kim Spectre, Morten Moesswilde, Dr. Tom Maycock, Mark Goguen, Mark Wallace, Jon Clapp, Joe Woods, Richard Wyman, David Sprague, David Lawrence and to Belfast Area High School and THMS teachers Sarah Joy, Jon Thurston, Ted Pellerin, David Thomas and Steve Groening for helping mentor students in specific events. The team and their families also issued thanks to the Belfast City Council, the RSU 20 Board of Directors, and to the team’s many community supporters for financially making the trip to Florida possible.

Anyone who has a background in science and/or engineering and is interested in mentoring middle and high school Olympiad teams is asked to contact Kahn at jkahn@rsu20.org.

For more information about the tournament, visit scienceolympiad2012.com