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Students participate in annual Science Olympiad

ELYRIA — If the scientists, doctors and physicists of tomorrow are born from the sacrifices of today, dozens of middle and high school students from the region will say that sacrifice began with giving up a Saturday all in the name of science.

“Yes, I actually got up at 6:30 this morning to do science stuff because I love science,” said 16-year-old Kimberly Cragin, a 10th-grader at Elyria High School. “Everything in the world is made up of science. Science is an explanation for a lot of things.”

Kimberly quickly switched the conversation to beetles and how she had to categorize different species of beetles in one event. It was kind of gross and interesting at the same time, she said.

Those kinds of conversations took place Saturday all over Lorain County Community College during the regional competition for the 2014 Science Olympiad. The regional contest was presented by LCCC’s Science and Mathematics division with financial support from The Nordson Corp.

About 500 middle and high school students representing 25 schools competed during the event with the winning teams advancing to Columbus for the state tournament.

The Medina High School team is just three years in to competing in the Olympiad, but team members said they love the science and competition of the event equally.

“I got involved when I was in the sixth grade because science really interests me,” said Ben Loeper, 16. “This isn’t like school. Science is my best subject. But with the Olympiad, I do events that interest me. Astronomy, rocks and minerals and the scrambler.”

The scrambler is described as a gravity-propelled vehicle, and the idea is to strap an egg to the front of the vehicle and see who can go the farthest and fastest without smashing the car into the wall and cracking the egg.

“If you crack it, you’re disqualified,” Kimberly said. “It’s simple, but complicated at the same time.”

Senior Alejandro Figueroa, 17, said the Olympiad is more than just competing. Since he was young, science has been what he was best at — what he turned to when he wanted to learn new things.

“Science gives me the rush of knowledge,” he said.

It’s no wonder he hopes to base his future plans in science. He dreams of being a neurobiologist — a field that combines his love of analyzing behaviors and biology.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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