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O’Neal Places Second in Science Olympiad Regionals

Qualifies for fourth consecutive visit to states

Southern Pines – Saturday, February 25th, The O’Neal Middle School travelled to Fayetteville for the regional level of North Carolina Science Olympiad Competition. The Fayetteville region consisting of 22 teams from 15 different schools was a challenge for the Falcons, but they pulled away with a second place overall finish and qualified to compete, for the fourth consecutive time, in the state Science Olympiad competition at North Carolina State University April 21-22. With their 2nd place finish, this places O’Neal in the top 20% of more than 250 teams competing in North Carolina.

For places first through fifth, O’Neal placed in 16 (up from 10 last year) of the 23 events, bringing home four first place medals, four second place medals, four third place medals, one fourth place medals, and three fifth place medals. This year, two fifth grade students – Tylar Pastre and Christian Maloney – competed in the Junior Varsity Division against 6th through 9th grade students, and earned an impressive first place medal for the “Scrambler” event.

“I am very proud of our Middle School team and their performance for the regional tournament,” says O’Neal Science Olympiad Head Coach Boyd Grayson. “We’ve been working hard for many months and we met our objective to qualify for the state competition for the fourth year in a row. Every year our team improves. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for the O’Neal with Science Olympiad as more and more students become interested and involved in this phenomenal program.”

In addition, this is the second year that Middle School French exchange students with O’Neal formed a Science Olympiad team to compete in the regionals. Through months of remote collaboration with Coach Grayson, the French students managed to receive eight medals.

The O’Neal Upper School team came home with five medals in the high school level competition. With most being first-time competitors, great positive energy among the team made for a valuable experience.

Science Olympiad events are STEM related activities ranging from competing with pre-built items, like the Elastic Launched Glider, Bridge Building and Bottle Rockets, to interactive activities using provided materials, like Crime Busters, to tests of scientific knowledge like Meteorology, Fossils and Anatomy.
Cited from a release from St. Andrews University — The first recorded Science Olympiad was held 41 years ago at St. Andrews. Dr. Donald Barnes and Dr. David Wetmore were the originators of this event. Fifteen schools from North and South Carolina and Virginia participated in this event. This Olympiad was a daylong event, with competitions and demonstrations for high school students in the areas of biology, chemistry, and physics. There were four event periods during this day, and each event period had one fun event (like beaker race or paper airplane), one demonstration (like glassblowing and holography), and one serious event (like periodic table quiz or Science Bowl). An article by Wetmore was published in the Journal of Chemical Education in January of 1978 documenting the success of recruiting students through Science Olympiad. Education leaders who observed the Olympiad took the concept to the national level in 1985. Today, 7000 teams in 30 states compete in Science Olympiads—

The Science Olympiad Tournament Goals stated from the national website ( ) are as follows:

·         To bring science to life, to show how science works, to emphasize problem solving aspects of science and the understanding of science concepts.

·         To develop teamwork and cooperative learning strategies among students.

·         To make science education more exciting so more students will enroll in science courses and engage in other science activities like science reading, fairs, meetings and field trips.

·         To promote high levels of achievement and a commitment to excellence, to demonstrate that American students can perform at levels that surpasses expectations of even practicing scientists and engineers.

·         To attract more students particularly females and minorities to professional and technical careers in science, technology and science teaching.

O’Neal is a college preparatory, independent day school serving students from pre-kindergarten age 3 through 12th grade. O’Neal is dedicated to the development of academic excellence, strength of character and physical well-being of its students in an environment where self-discipline, integrity and consideration for others are fundamental. The School is dually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). Tuition assistance is available.


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