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New Mexico's Brightest Competing For Science Olympiad Title

SOCORRO, N.M. February 21, 2012 – More than 700 “intelletes” from every corner of New Mexico will put their ingenuity and knowledge to the test Saturday at the 26th annual New Mexico Science Olympiad at New Mexico Tech.

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 The Albuquerque Academy team celebrates the 2010 New Mexico Science Olympiad championship. Academy will be shooting for its eighth consecutive title Saturday in Socorro.

The science and engineering university in Socorro has organized and hosted the event since its inception.

“Science Olympiad attracts the brightest and most innovative youngsters in the state,” director Tony Ortiz said. “What better place to have an event for the next generation of problem solvers? Many Tech students first became aware of the university and our unique capabilities through Science Olympiad.”

The event kicks off at 8 a.m. with a welcoming address. Competitions continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the awards assembly beginning at 6 p.m.

Students from 25 high schools and 25 middle schools will compete in 23 dozen events to crown the state champions.

“This is the end of the line for these students,” director Tony Ortiz said. “Science Olympiad is an academic event, but it’s also a competition. The youngsters show school spirit, camaraderie and teamwork. It’s an exciting event and winning Science Olympiad is no different than winning on the ball field for these students.”

Each team can include up to 15 members, with no more than seven seniors per team or five ninth-graders per middle school team. Teams of two students compete in each of the 23 events. The winning team receives 20 points; second place gets 19 points; and so on down to 1 point for 20th place. At the end of the competition, the schools with the most points will be crowned state champions and earn a trip to the National Science Olympiad event in Orlando, Fla., in May.

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Science Olympiad "intelletes compete in a variety of engineering challenges, like this trebuchet competition, and other scientific events.

Albuquerque Academy is the seven-time defending champion of the high school division, having narrowly outpointed the Albuquerque Area Home Schoolers in recent years. The remainder of the top five was La Cueva (Albuquerque), Cloudcroft and Lovington.

The Home Schoolers won the middle school competition in 2011, narrowly defeating Academy. The other top five middle schools were Annunciation Middle School (Albuquerque), Houston Junior High (Hobbs) and Gutierrez Middle School (Roswell).

The 23 events include engineering tasks, written tests and pre-built devices. The disciplines include anatomy, astronomy, cell biology, chemistry, disease detective, ecology, bridge building, design, forensics, fossil identification, ornithology, physics, remote sensing, and writing.

Each event is coordinated and judged by New Mexico Tech professors and students in various locations across campus.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech