A couple of weeks ago Max participated in the State Science Olympiad competition at Kennesaw University, just north of Atlanta. Max was able to participate because he and his partner took first place in his event, Simple Machines, in the district competition (which had over 30 schools participate) and his school won the Overall First Place trophy. The Friday before the competition, Kevin took off from work, we pulled Brian out of school, and I canceled my appointment with The View (just kidding! One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to stop watching the show; one of the best decisions I’ve ever made) so we could go to the competition with the team. There were 16 members and a dozen or so adults and we were in high spirits, though most of us didn’t really know what was going on. We left Savannah early in the morning so we’d have time to visit the Atlanta Aquarium, which was right on the way. YAY for good planning. See pictures here.
The next morning, the competition started early and lasted all freaking day. There were 61 teams, the largest group in Georgia’s history and the largest group in the country, participating in 18 events. Max and a partner participated in two events, Simple Machines and Large Number Estimations. They didn’t place in either event, nor did any of his teammates. Not that we cared, we were just thrilled to be there. (I am not really sure how this Science Olympiad thing is supposed to work because everyone is paired up with a partner. Some of the events are projects, like Bridge Building or Water Rockets, in which it seems natural to have a partner, but some of the events are simple question-and-answer time. Max said he didn’t agree with his partner about a single thing during the Large Number Estimation event. It seems weird to have that extra, need-to-agree element.) But anyway, we were really happy to be surrounded by over a thousand kids and adults who valued education and participation.
A side note for my MIL, who homeschooled her two youngest kids. There was a homeschooling group that participated for the first time. I wasn’t sure if they had competed at a local level before being invited to the state competition. I didn’t want some group just jumping to the big game without earning it, you know, so I was keeping my eye on them a bit. They ended up placing in two competitions, and proved they definitely deserved to be there! 🙂
Tonight was the school’s Spring band and chorus concert. (Max is in the chorus.) Both groups sounded so much better than the Winter concert from Dec. I am not sure if it was simply the extra time to practice or if it was the song selection. The audience, and principal, demanded an encore from the chorus and almost half of the audience got up to dance, with encouragement from the chorus director. It was fun and raucous, where appropriate, and the kids had a really good time and it actually made me tear up to see Max singing his heart out.
The school district introduced a fun day of “hands-on learning experiences” honoring the top two performing fourth and fifth grade students on the CRCT Social Studies portion from each school. (The CRCT is a standardized test given to Georgia students in grades 1-8 each year.) Guess who was one of the kids invited? Yup, that would Max. Also, there is a fun day for the top scoring boy and girl from the fourth and fifth grade for the Science portion. And Max was invited to that too! His genius has been documented once again!