To those who may be reading this,
One half of the captainship speaks to you at the moment, manifested in a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School by the name of Nick Corso. In other words, I am Nick, and I’m now entering my third year on the Varsity Science Olympiad Team here, which was preceded by a single year on the Junior Varsity Team.
My experience with Science Olympiad has been, compared to my peers, relatively short, but regardless its impact has been profound. A passion for all things science has been burning ever more brightly since early middle school, and Science Olympiad has offered the best combination of the freedom of self-study that allows an individual to delve as deeply into a topic as they can handle and of the organized structure that can help put individuals on the right tracks to study this topic in the first place. The rules explain what topics to investigate, and by investigating, we are exposed to the scientific world and have at least the basic skills required to understand the things to which we are exposed.
And these basic skills have helped me bring my life into focus. The exposure has helped me realize what specific fields I intend to pursue down the line; it has allowed me to transition from the intention to major in “science” to the intention to major in, say, astrophysics, and I have confidence that this is something I would enjoy. To put this confidence to the test, I attended a summer program at UChicago and took a course on astrophysics, and every moment of it was exhilarating. Without Science Olympiad, I don’t know if I would have quite as much zeal for something so particular.
Science Olympiad as a whole is for gifted young scientists, but there are things about FM Science Olympiad which even takes it a step beyond that: when I look at our team, I don’t see people who are only proficient in the STEM fields, but I see well-rounded students who excel in every subject. They are motivated to do well in all fields because they see value in not just science but education as a whole. This sort of dedication, I believe, is part of what enhances the FM team. But we are also enhanced by our camaraderie; our ability to depend on one another for help, to have confidence in each other, and to have overwhelmingly positive opinions of each other. There are a great number of other teams which make position within themselves just as much a competition as the actual competitions, and while the people who make it to the top there know each other well and may be good friends, it’s not quite the same as the whole-year teams we have here, where everyone endures as a single force.
Science Olympiad has taught me much besides the exact curricula the events provide; namely it has taught me perseverance, in that it helped me understand how complicated scientific investigations really can be, and it has taught me what it really means to be a team. When we look for new team members, we look for cooperation, honesty, and ingenuity. Science Olympiad is tough, and it’s an extreme commitment, but it is, in my opinion, well worth it.
-Nick Corso (Co-Captain of the 2017-2018 Fayetteville-Manlius Varsity Science Olympiad Team)
My name is Matthew Hasenwinkel, and I am a senior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. This will be my third year on the varsity Science Olympiad team at the high school, and prior to that I spent two years on the Eagle Hill Science Olympiad team in B Division. For the past four years, Science Olympiad has taken up quite a good chunk of my time, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Science Olympiad has allowed me to explore many different things within the wide realm that is science, but in particular one thing that I’ve gotten to work a lot with is balsa wood. During my first year on the Eagle Hill team, I was put on the Boomilever event. The next year as a freshman, I helped the two members of our team who were building bridges, and the last two years I've gotten to be on the Bridge and then Tower events here at the high school.
One might think that a twelve year old gluing balsa wood to his fingers at 3:30 in the morning and having to cut the wood off with an Exacto knife would lead said kid to hate balsa. For some reason, however, that just made me enjoy working with it all the more. It wasn't until last year that I realized I wanted to go into engineering not because both of my parents were engineers, but because in working with balsa I had discovered a love for problem solving, designing, and building things. Despite the fact that gluing my fingers together in the wee hours of the night has since grown old, I am quite thankful to have been exposed to the balsa building events.
If you think you want to do Science Olympiad, get ready. You will experience intense competitions, exciting victories, and agonizing defeats, but most of all, you will get to learn. You will be exposed to new fields of science, new topics, and new ideas. You will study these things with your friends and learn to succeed as a team. However, if there's one thing I've learned throughout my years on the Science Olympiad teams here at F-M, it's this: your SO teammates are your family. You will spend a lot of time with your teammates, and the bonds that you all form will lead to you doing everything as a team. You will win as a team, not as a group of 15 individuals. Hopefully you won't lose, but if you do, you lose as a team too. This is one of the amazing things about Science Olympiad here at F-M.
Science Olympiad looks for students who have a wealth of knowledge, a love of learning, and dedication. We want students who will help make this team great: not necessarily those with the most raw intelligence, but rather those who are hardworking, yearn to succeed, and know how to work as a member of a team. Don't think that just because you might be the most intelligent person in all your classes, you already have a spot on the Science Olympiad team. We look at not just your intelligence but also your character, recommendations from teachers you have had in the past, your past grades, and finally, your performance at tryouts. Don't forget that Science Olympiad is a major time commitment, but don't let that scare you. If you have a love of science and of learning and are willing to put in the work, then Science Olympiad just might be the place for you.
-Matthew Hasenwinkel (Co-Captain of the 2017-2018 Fayetteville-Manlius Varsity Science Olympiad Team)