Local teams headed to Science Olympiad regional on Saturday

MANISTEE — Over the past decade the Manistee Catholic Central and Manistee Area Public Schools Science Olympiad teams have turned in good efforts at the annual Regional competition.

Manistee Catholic Central student John Slivka and mentor Dave Pavilus working a Science Olympiad event. The regional competition takes place on Saturday at Mt. Pleasant for Manistee Catholic and Manistee High School teams.

Manistee Catholic Central student John Slivka and mentor Dave Pavilus working a Science Olympiad event. The regional competition takes place on Saturday at Mt. Pleasant for Manistee Catholic and Manistee High School teams.

Both local middle and high school teams have come home from that tournament with the Regional championship and at least one of the teams has qualified for the state tournament during that time frame. They hope to keep that tradition going on Saturday.

This year Manistee Catholic Central will be the only one sending a middle school team and coach Ed Kolanowski said there will be some changes in the format this year.

“This year’s competition will be different because it is going to be at Mid Michigan Community College’s Mt. Pleasant campus instead of Harrison,” said Kolanowski. “This year some additional teams have been included in the Regional so it should be good competition.”

The region they draw from has changed slightly and includes schools from Manistee, Mason, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Wexford, Lake, Missaukee, Rosommon, Clare and Osceola counties.

Kolanowski will be bringing a veteran team into the competition.

“I am fortunate to have 11 students with experience and only four this year who are doing it for the first time,” said Kolanowski.

On his junior high team are seventh grade students Kaylyn Johnson, Ashley VanAelst, eight grade students Rachel Callesen, Taryn Kempf, Brendan McComb, Kyle McLinden, Mallory Meikle, Elena Pizana, Alexander Shriver and Josephine Ziehm. Also on the team are freshmen Mateo Barnett, Henry Hybza, Blake Johnson, Ian Kamaloski and Kaya Watkins.

Manistee High School’s coaches Bridget Warnke and Kevin Postma said their team has been working hard to prepare for Saturday’s Regional.

“We have attended two invitationals which has really helped us gear up for the Regional,” said Warnke. “We have working on perfecting our build-its and have been working through the tests to study.”

Postma said this year’s team has been an enjoyable one to coach.

“This year has been so much fun,” he said. “The beauty of Science Olympiad is that it presents students with real world challenges that require a lot of thought and grit to come up with a solution. We have a strong team this year that really has dug into their events and enjoys working with each other. They have great chemistry.”

Warnke added that the parental support has been excellent.

“We have some parents that have been helping the kids this year and in fact one of our parents helped us get a 3D printer which kids are now learning how to work,” said Warnke. “It has been an excellent year for Science Olympiad and we look forward to Saturday.”

Team members making the trip to Mt. Pleasant will be Elliot Kamaloski, Maggie Blevins, Heather Antal, Michaela Briske, Ashley Walle, Kiera Raymond, Roger Lind, Titus Lind, Liam Quinn, Eleanor Scarlata, Mason Schaubroeck, Brynn O’Donnell, Nicole Weaver, Jack Holtgren, Maddie Verheek and Luke Herberger.

Manistee Catholic Central varsity coach Tamara Buswinka said her team has been working hard and is ready for Saturday’s competition.

“This year we have a team made up of members who have been involved in the Science Olympiad program at MCC since middle school and have qualified for the State competition for the past five years,” said Buswinka. “I am so proud of this team, they are hard working and dedicated to doing the best job that they can.”

Being a small school, the MCC team members often have to juggle their schedule because they are involved in so many events.

“The team is made up of individuals who are leaders in the school who are also involved in basketball, skiing, Quiz Bowl, are dual enrolled, work, as well as other activities that take up their time all while maintaining high academic achievement in their classes,” said Buswinka. “They have been meeting most Saturdays since late November. The goal of the team from the start has been to ‘do the best job we can’ and my goal, as the coach, for each team member is for them to be able to say that they achieved that goal.”

Team members have been getting assistance from a variety of sources.

“This year we have been very blessed to have Fathers Pablo Martinez and Zeljko Guberovic work with the team members sharing their STEM knowledge and providing encouragement and for that we are so appreciative,” said Buswinka.

Those taking part in the Regional include Sara Bialik, Joseph Buswinka, Nicole Kaminski, Natalie McLinden, Nolan Fortier, Sylvia Neph, Preston Picardat, John Slivka, Emma Smart, Austin VanAelst, Max Papenfuss, Sean Dougherty, Rylee Feliczak and Darlene Diep.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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